According to a new study, almost half of families in the North East with children under five live in poverty, the region with the highest rate in the country.
The report by Little Village, a baby bank helping families in London, and the National Joseph Rowntree Foundation, found that around 47% of families with young children in the area are in poverty, with around 100,000 children d affected preschoolers. Child poverty campaigners in the North East called the figures ‘simply intolerable’ and said the government must act if its promise of a ‘race to the top’ in the North East and other areas had to make sense.
The report – It Takes a Village – found that levels of child poverty are even higher for children with a disabled parent, children from single-parent families and children from racial minorities. More and more poor families have at least one working parent. He called on the government to improve childcare and make changes to the benefit system to tackle rising levels of child poverty.
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Sophie Livingstone, CEO of Little Village, said: “This new report highlights the appalling breadth and depth of poverty faced by more than one million babies and young children across the country. The numbers are shocking but behind the numbers there are young children with no space to crawl and play; families unable to feed their children three regular meals a day; babies sleep on the floor because their families cannot afford a crib.
“It is quite shocking that so many young children live in poverty in the UK, one of the richest countries in the world. A combination of factors including the rising cost of living, soaring bills energy bills, exorbitant child care costs and reduced benefits, is expected to create the worst year on record for families trapped in poverty.
The report’s authors call for action to ensure more affordable childcare, more investment in early childhood services and changes to Universal Credit to lift more young children out of poverty.
Reacting to the report, Amanda Bailey, Director of the North East Child Poverty Commission, said: “It is simply intolerable that almost half of the youngest children in the North East are now growing up in poverty – and that number continues to rise year after year. over the year. All the evidence tells us that living in poverty in the early years of childhood can have extremely detrimental and long-lasting effects on children’s life chances – impacting brain development, physical health and well-being. -mental being, school performance, future job opportunities and even life expectancy.
“There is therefore little chance that communities and families in our region will be ‘levelled’ unless meaningful and concerted action is taken at all levels of government to address levels of child poverty, and in especially the youngest, in the Northeast. ”
The number of families with preschoolers living in poverty has risen steadily in recent years, from 42% two years ago to 46% last year. The North East figure of 47% is significantly higher than the next worst level – London, at 41% – and well above Northern Ireland, where 27% of families with children under five are in the poverty.
The Department of Upgrading, Housing and Communities has been contacted for comment.