More than half of Tower Hamlets children living in poverty

PUBLISHED: 13:40 26 January 2018

Newham has a high rate of child poverty Picture: PA Images/Joe Giddens.

Newham has a high rate of child poverty Picture: PA Images/Joe Giddens.

PA Wire/PA Images

More than half of children in Tower Hamlets are living in poverty, new figures have shown.

The statistics, revealead by the End Child Poverty coalition, found that more than 32,600 children were living below the poverty line last year - equating to 53.4 per cent of youngsters.

The figures also showed that of those children, 15,301 live within the Bethnal Green and Bow constituency, and 17,361 within Poplar and Limehouse.

The two constituencies are both within the top three nationwide for the highest percentage of children living in poverty, with 54.18pc and 52.75pc respectively.

Both have seen a drastic increase since 2015, with Bethnal Green and Bow rising by 11 percentage points and Poplar and Limehouse by nine percentage points.

End Child Poverty classes a child as living in poverty if their family is living on less than 60pc of median household income.

A Tower Hamlets Council spokesman explained that they were “committed to taking action to improve the lives of residents” and said that last year, councillors voted to set aside a £5m tackling poverty fund to support those in financial difficulty.

So far, £1m of that has been allocated to support households struggling as a result of delayed Universal Credit payments.

Mayor John Biggs added: “The impact of the Government’s cuts are hitting our residents hard, from the benefit cap to Universal Credit central government has hacked away at the welfare safety net and local councils have been left to pick up the pieces.

“These figures should be a wake-up call to Government of the impact their policies are having on the most vulnerable in society.”

The figures showed that child poverty was particularly prevalent in east London, with four of the worst five of the capital’s boroughs being in the region.

Alison Garnham, chief executive of Child Poverty Action Group, part of the coalition, said: “Hard-up families are caught between rising prices and real-terms cuts in essential support like child benefit.

“Without action to protect the living standards of ordinary families, we risk damaging children’s life chances.”

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