Up to half of children living in some areas of the UK are growing up below the poverty line, according to a report by a coalition.
End Child Poverty have called for Chancellor Philip Hammond to unfreeze child benefits after their study revealed that child poverty figures have skyrocketed since their last investigation in December 15.
The problem is particularly evident in large cities – among the 20 parliamentary constituencies with the highest levels of childhood poverty, seven are located in London, three are in Birmingham and three in Manchester.
It is scandalous that a child born in some parts of the UK now has a greater chance of growing up in poverty, than being in a family above the breadline
In the English capital, 52.8 per cent of children – a figure of 17,361 – in the constituency of Poplar and Limehouse are living below the breadline, while Bethnal Green and Bow has 54.2 per cent of children in poverty.
The Ladywood area of Birmingham – often dubbed the poorest place in the UK and the location where controversial documentary Benefits Street was filmed in 2014 – has 18,696 kids growing up in poor conditions, while 47.5 per cent of children in the centre of Manchester are also in poverty.
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You can check the levels of poverty in your area using End Child Poverty’s interactive map here.
“It is scandalous that a child born in some parts of the UK now has a greater chance of growing up in poverty, than being in a family above the breadline,” said Sam Royston, chair of End Child Poverty and director of policy and research at the Children’s Society. “There can be little doubt that the government’s policy of maintaining the benefits freeze despite rising prices is a major contributor to the emerging child poverty crisis.”
With some areas across the UK reporting an increase of up to 10 percentage points – demonstrating the growing poverty crisis – the coalition has warned that a poverty premium could mean low-income families see prices rise by as much as £1,700 a year, while better access to interest-free credit is required.
New UK Child Poverty map out today shows shocking levels of child poverty. Biggest increases in most deprived areas. See your local data at https://t.co/Xg6leYCeNh Time to end the freeze on children's benefits #endchildpoverty pic.twitter.com/hpaKvBy7WA
— End Child Poverty (@EndChildPoverty) January 24, 2018
Big Issue Invest has also targeted the poverty premium by backing ethical lender Fair For You. The Big Issue’s social investment arm loaned the not-for-profit financial firm £1 million last November to help them offer affordable credit to the 15 million adults who are excluded from mainstream credit sources.
Elsewhere, Big Issue founder Lord John Bird’s proposed Creditworthiness Assessment Bill is currently awaiting a hearing of the whole House in parliament. The private member’s bill is aiming to make rental payments a compulsory part of a credit score.
Royston added: “No family in modern Britain should be struggling to put food on the table, heat their homes and clothe their children.
“End Child Poverty is calling on the Chancellor to end the freeze on children’s benefits, and to invest in interest-free credit for low income families, to ensure that poverty doesn’t result in spiralling debt.”