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The alarming figures that show the real extent of poverty in the North East UK News

A damning new report has shown how the number of children living in poverty has skyrocketed in the Northeast over the past five years.

More and more young people are growing up in homes where they may not have enough food, where paying for heat is a problem or where families are threatened with eviction.

Poverty has increased across the country – but it has increased most rapidly in the Northeast. One in four children in Newcastle now lives in poverty. And in many other parts of the region, the number is more than one in three.

MPs demanded action. Jarrow MP Kate Osborne said: “If we are to live in a society where every child has the chance to succeed, we must invest in this generation and in future generations.”

A new report from Loughborough University academics for the End Child Poverty charity warns that the increase is much higher in the North East than in any other region.

The authors said: “A particularly striking aspect of this, in the latest figures, is a further significant increase in child poverty in the North East. Overall, in this region, the child poverty rate has increased by more than a third – from 26% to 37% – in five years. ”

They added: “This pattern suggests that child poverty is increasing at an alarming rate in urban areas of the Northeast, while the biggest changes elsewhere are more localized.

“This is likely to be influenced in particular by the presence in the region of a large proportion of low-paid workers who were just above the poverty line and who were pushed below by the freezing of their benefits. employment-related. “

Highlighting the impact that growing up in poverty has on children, End Child Poverty published the story of a young person called Naomi, who said: “Growing up in poverty, I experienced a lot. that a child shouldn’t.

“I worry about where my next meal is coming from, when the electricity or the heating could go out … the judicial officers take my business, as well as the shame and the stigma that result from it … It had a lasting impact on my life. ”

Poverty is defined as living in a family whose income is 60% lower than the median income, after housing costs. This means that the family income is significantly lower than that of middle-income families.

The proportion of children in poverty increased from 28.4% in Newcastle in fiscal year 2014-15 to 41.2% in 2019-20. That’s more than four in ten.

In Gateshead, 36% of children grow up in poverty, or more than a third.

Other areas with high levels of child poverty include:

  • Redcar and Cleveland 36.8%
  • County Durham 35.8%
  • North Tyneside 34.0%
  • Darlington 36.1%
  • South Tyneside 37.8%
  • Hartlepool 37.8%
  • Middlesbrough 39.4%
  • Sunderland 37.6%
  • Stockton-on-Tees 35.3%
  • Northumberland 36.2%

Concerns have been raised in the House of Commons by members of the Northeast.

Blaydon MP Liz Twist said: “Ending Child Poverty today produced a series of figures which unfortunately show that child poverty has increased in the North East, where my riding is located. Over 4,300 children in my riding live in poverty. This needs to be resolved. “

Newcastle North MP Catherine McKinnell called the increase “both shocking and appalling”.

She told the House of Commons: “How can the government talk about ‘leveling’ when more and more children and young people in the Northeast are growing up under its watch, even as their parents are for it? most of them already in poverty. job?”

Ms Osborne called for a plan to end child poverty, including a commitment to increase child benefits. She said: “The families of South Tyneside and Gateshead are already in trouble.”

The government uses a different measure of child poverty and said that between 2009/10 and 2019/20, absolute child poverty (after housing) fell from 28% (3.7 million) to 25% (3 , 5 million) nationwide.

A spokesperson said: “The latest figures show that the number of children in absolute poverty has fallen by 300,000 since 2010.

“We are committed to supporting the poorest families, spending billions more on social assistance and planning a long-term exit from poverty by protecting jobs through time off and helping people find work through our Employment Plan.

“We also launched our £ 269million Covid Local Support Grant to help children and families stay warm and well nourished throughout the pandemic.”