East End records highest percentage of children in poverty, study shows
PUBLISHED: 07:00 19 October 2020
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The East End has the highest percentage of child poverty in the country, a study shows.
Figures released on Wednesday, October 14 by the End Child Poverty coalition reveal that a total of 55 per cent of children in Tower Hamlets were in poverty in 2018-19.
This puts the borough ahead of every other UK local authority, including second highest Newham (50.3pc) and third highest Barking and Dagenham (49.9pc).
The Loughborough University research shows that even before the pandemic London boroughs dominated the list of UK authorities where child poverty is highest, with 14 of the top 20 hotspot boroughs in the capital.
Anna Feuchtwang, who chairs End Child Poverty, said: “This new data reveals the true extent of the hardship experienced by families on low incomes – the overwhelming majority of which were working households before the pandemic.
“The children affected are on a cliff edge, and the pandemic will only sweep them further into danger.”
A Department for Work and Pensions spokesperson said: “There are 100,000 fewer children living in absolute poverty than in 2009/10 and making sure every child gets the best start in life is central to our efforts to level up opportunity across the country.
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“We have already taken significant steps to do this by raising the living wage, ending the benefit freeze and injecting more than £9.3billion into the welfare system to help those in most need.”
While Tower Hamlets saw the highest percentage, the borough has the second highest number of children in poverty in London (35,725) behind neighbouring Newham with 39,638.
London’s child poverty rate rose to 39pc in 2018-2019 up from 37pc the year before. It is the highest of any UK region.
The study shows that the cost of housing is a driver of child poverty in the capital
If housing costs are ignored, the child poverty rate in Bethnal Green and Bow is 30pc. However, if they are factored in the rate soars to 61pc.
This puts the area at the top of a table of child poverty by constituencies, ahead of fourth placed West Ham (52.5pc), Poplar and Limehouse (52.4pc) in fifth and eighth placed East Ham (51.3pc).
Apsana Begum, MP for Poplar and Limehouse, said: “The soaring levels of child poverty in Poplar and Limehouse is further evidence of the Tories’ chilling disregard for our communities’ suffering.”
The research used data from the Department for Work and Pensions, Valuation Office Agency and Understanding Society survey.
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