More than 5.5m children in the UK are living in poverty, or on the brink of poverty, according to the Campaign to End Child Poverty. In some areas of the country nearly all children are affected, such as in Glasgow Bailieston where 98% of children are in poverty or in financially struggling families.
Country in turmoil
Campaign chair Martin Narey (right) said: “Pockets of our country are in turmoil. These figures show us that there are millions more children than originally thought being failed by the system.”
The figures, based on data for 2006, were collated by the Centre for Economic and Social Inclusion, and show the level of poverty in local authorities and parliamentary constituencies, as well as at local ward level.
The government defines the poverty line as below 60 per cent of median income, net of housing costs. Although the campaign’s figures do not mean all the children included are living in poverty, the campaign said they represent “a wider group of ‘have-nots’ among children in the UK”.
DCSF response on poverty
The Department for Children, Schools and Families said 600,000 children had been taken out of poverty by the current government. A spokesperson said: “The government remains fully committed to tackling child poverty, but it cannot do so alone. There is a clear role for local authorities and other services in raising family income, promoting the take up of tax credit and benefits, and helping parents into work, which we know is the best for families to get out of poverty.”
The campaign released the figures just before a rally it is holding this Saturday in central London calling on the government to honour its promise to halve child poverty by 2010 and to end it by 2020.