Report: More than half of children are growing up in poverty in some parts of the UK

The End Child Poverty coalition has today published figures providing a new Child Poverty map of the UK.  The new figures reveal that there are now constituencies within the UK where more than half of children are growing up in poverty – compared to one in ten, in the areas with the lowest child poverty rates.

The figures also show that some of the most deprived areas of the UK have seen the biggest increases in child poverty since the coalition’s last local child poverty figures, for December 2015. Increases of 10 percentage points in some areas demonstrate the growing crisis of child poverty in the UK.

As price rises risk pushing ever larger numbers of children below the poverty line, the coalition is calling on the Chancellor to end the freeze on children’s benefits – currently in place until the end of the decade – so that families no longer see living standards squeezed as prices rise.

The local child poverty estimates are broken down by parliamentary constituency, local authority and ward. Child poverty is the highest in large cities, particularly in London, Birmingham and Manchester.  Among the twenty parliamentary constituencies with the highest levels of childhood poverty, seven are located in London, three in Birmingham, and three in Manchester.

Since the introduction of the benefit freeze, the coalition of charities, faith groups and unions has warned that as prices rise, low income families would find it increasingly hard to pay for the same basic essentials.

‘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. 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.’

said Sam Royston, Chair of End Child Poverty and Director of Policy and Research at the Children’s Society.

The coalition is also concerned that the impact of poverty may be exacerbated by a poverty premium – which means that low income families can face paying as much as £1700 per year more than better off families, to buy the same essential goods and services. A major contributor to this is the high cost of credit for low income families, and the coalition wants to see the Government address this by providing better access to interest free credit.

Sam Royston said:

 ‘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.’

Table 1          Top 25 parliamentary constituencies with highest levels of child poverty across the UK

Constituency % of children in poverty 2017

(after housing costs)

1. Bethnal Green and Bow 54.18%
2. Birmingham, Ladywood 53.06%
3. Poplar and Limehouse 52.75%
4. Birmingham, Hodge Hill 51.46%
5. Manchester, Gorton 47.97%
6. Birmingham, Hall Green 47.82%
7. Manchester Central 47.52%
8. Bradford West 47.26%
9. Bradford East 46.73%
10. Oldham West and Royton 45.58%
11. Edmonton 45.39%
12. Glasgow Central 45.06%
13. Blackley and Broughton 44.66%
14. Leicester South 44.58%
15. Westminster North 44.41%
16. Newcastle upon Tyne Central 44.30%
17. East Ham 43.99%
18. Holborn and St Pancras 43.89%
19. Leeds Central 43.57%
20. Hackney South and Shoreditch 43.29%
21. Birmingham, Perry Barr 43.18%
22. Blackburn 42.83%
23. Tottenham 42.57%
24. Walsall South 42.56%
25. West Ham 42.37%

 

Table 2          Top 25 local authorities with highest levels of child poverty across the UK

Local authority % of children in poverty 2017

(after housing costs)

1. Tower Hamlets 53.40%
2. Manchester 43.60%
3. Newham 43.21%
4. Birmingham 42.33%
5. Hackney 41.30%
6. Westminster 41.29%
7. Oldham 40.66%
8. Leicester 40.59%
9. Islington 40.40%
10. Camden 39.92%
11. Enfield 39.60%
12. Blackburn with Darwen 39.55%
13. Bradford 39.53%
14. Middlesbrough 38.25%
15. Nottingham 38.23%
16. Barking and Dagenham 37.80%
17. Haringey 37.18%
18. Luton 36.91%
19. Brent 36.84%
20. Sandwell 36.54%
21. Blackpool 36.52%
22. Burnley 36.32%
23. Walsall 36.21%
24. Newcastle upon Tyne 36.03%
25. Waltham Forest 35.90%

The parliamentary constituencies with the lowest levels of child poverty are West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine, Gordon, North East Hampshire and Sheffield Hallam, with figures between 9 and 11 per cent.  The constituency of Theresa May (Maidenhead) is among the 25 with the lowest child poverty.

Table 3

14 of the 20 constituencies with the fastest growing child poverty also have poverty rates in the top 20

Rank by change Constituency % child poverty Sept 2017 Up from (dec 2015) % point increase Rank in child poverty rate Sept 2017
1 Bethnal Green and Bow 54% 43% 11% 1
2 Oldham West and Royton 46% 35% 10% 10
3 Bradford West 47% 37% 10% 8
4 Poplar and Limehouse 53% 44% 9% 3
5 Bradford East 47% 38% 8% 9
6 Keighley 32% 24% 8% 129
7 Blackburn 43% 35% 8% 22
8 Birmingham, Hodge Hill 51% 44% 4
9 Birmingham, Perry Barr 43% 35% 8% 21
10 Leicester South 45% 37% 8% 14
11 Birmingham, Hall Green 48% 40% 7% 6
12 Pendle 36% 29% 7% 71
13 East Ham 44% 37% 7% 17
14 Edmonton 45% 39% 7% 11
15 Newcastle upon Tyne Central 44% 38% 6% 16
16 Holborn and St Pancras 44% 38% 6% 18
17 Manchester, Gorton 48% 42% 6% 5
18 Enfield North 40% 34% 6% 38
19 Dewsbury 33% 27% 6% 112
20 Glasgow Central 45% 39% 6% 12

You can read the full report here

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