Half of Tower Hamlets children are in “child poverty”
Tower Hamlets is the worst area in the UK for child poverty, new research by a charity shows.
More than half the children living in the East End are from families where the household income is less than 60 per cent of the national average of �25,000, according to the Campaign to End Child Poverty.
Rushanara Ali, MP for Bethnal Green and Bow, which had the worst rate of child poverty in the country, has hit out at Tower Hamlets mayor Lutfur Rahman for not having an “effective training programme” to help people find jobs.
She said: “The directly elected mayor has almost a billion pounds of public money to spend and people need to ask, where is he spending it?
“Why doesn’t Tower Hamlets have an effective training programme? If Newham can get thousands of people into work why can’t Tower Hamlets?”
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But the council insisted it has taken “great strides” to tackle the issue with measures such as its �400 grants for books and travel for sixth form and college students to replace the government’s abolished Education Maintenance Allowance.
It said it is also welcoming 21 new graduates into a council training programme this week, alongside filling at least 1,000 Olympics jobs.
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The number of 16 to 18-year-olds not in education, employment or training has been reduced to 5.3 per cent - lower than the national average of 6.6 per cent.
Meanwhile, Ms Ali said there needs to be a “frank discussion” in the borough about the opportunities less well off families have, alongside how much money is going to be needed to tackle the more difficult issue of long-term unemployment.
The Labour MP said: “If you come from a workless family you don’t have the opportunities that others do. It makes a massive difference to have people around to give robust, positive feedback to young people.”
“A call to arms” to Canary Wharf and City of London firms to offer more local jobs and paid internships is vital in reducing child poverty, Ms Ali added.