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More than a quarter of children in East End working families live in poverty, study shows

PUBLISHED: 07:00 20 May 2020 | UPDATED: 09:09 20 May 2020

A study has shown child poverty in the area is on the rise. Picture: PA/Brian Lawless

A study has shown child poverty in the area is on the rise. Picture: PA/Brian Lawless

PA Wire/PA Images

More than a quarter of children in working East End families live in poverty, a study shows.

Anna Feuchtwang from End Child Poverty and the National Children�s Bureau. Picture: ECPAnna Feuchtwang from End Child Poverty and the National Children�s Bureau. Picture: ECP

A total of 29.7 per cent of youngsters are in poverty in working families in Bethnal Green and Bow constituency with 25pc in Poplar and Limehouse in 2018-19, according to a report from End Child Poverty and Loughborough University.

The figures represent rises of 7.7pc and 7.5pc compared to 2014-15 respectively with Bethnal Green and Bow seeing the steepest and Poplar and Limehouse the third steepest rise in the capital.

The End Child Poverty coalition – a grouping of 70 UK charities, faith groups, unions and community organisations – urged the government to take seriously how the four year rise has pushed families “to breaking point”.

Its members fear the Covid-19 pandemic will push more families over the edge.

Anna Feuchtwang, of End Child Poverty and the National Children’s Bureau, said: “We may all be experiencing the storm of coronavirus together, but we are not all in the same boat.

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“The government’s data shows the extent to which over the past four years, children in low income families have been cut adrift and are already experiencing unacceptable hardship through cuts and freezes to the benefits system.

“Our country’s children are now at severe risk of being swept deeper into poverty as a result of the pandemic and lockdown.”

She urged the government to strengthen the social security system by immediately increasing household income for those least well-off, for example by increasing child benefit, and to put ending child poverty at the heart of its economic recovery plan.

A government spokesman said: “This government understands the challenges many are facing which is why we injected £6.5billion into the welfare system, including increasing universal credit and working tax credit by up to £1,040 a year, as well as rolling out income protection schemes, mortgage holidays and additional support for renters.

“We currently spend a record £95bn a year on our safety net welfare system and remain committed to supporting the most vulnerable in society throughout the current emergency and beyond.”

Loughborough’s study crunches government numbers that track four years of child poverty across Britain before rent and mortgage costs.

Because it looks at child poverty before those costs are accounted for, it underestimates the relative significance of child poverty in London.

A 2019 End Child Poverty report found that child poverty in the UK is rising steadily. After falling between the late 1990s and about 2010, the trend is now upwards.


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