Oldham tops list in latest child poverty figures

Date published: 20 May 2020

Levels of poverty amongst children in the North West have risen by 4.5% since 2014, going from 18.5% to 23%, new figures show.

Perhaps most alarming, however, are the figures concerning Oldham.

The Borough currently tops the latest table of statistics, with child poverty levels now standing at 38%, a shocking increase of 9.3% since 2014.

Even before the devastating impact of Covid-19 on household incomes, child poverty – predominantly in working families – has been rising across the region, leaving growing numbers of children facing the devastating effects.

The End Child Poverty coalition fears the issues will continue to deepen as the virus pulls more and more families below the poverty line. 

The group is now calling on the Government to take action and to commit to an ambitious strategy to end child poverty and to immediately increase the amount of money in families’ pockets.

The coalition, working with researchers at Loughborough University, has published a new analysis of Government data that documents how child poverty rates in many different areas across Britain have swelled over the last four years, even before housing costs are taken into account.

The report’s analysis also shows how unequally child poverty affects the country, with children in some parts six times more likely to be growing up in poverty than their neighbours in less deprived areas.  

The worse 10 areas of child poverty in the North West are:

* Oldham - 38.0%, an increase of 9.3%

* Pendle - 37.4%. an increase of 8.9%

* Bolton  - 32.2%, an increase of 7.4%

* Blackburn with Darwen - 36.5%, an increase of 7.3%

* Hyndburn - 33.4%, an increase of 6.7%

* Liverpool - 27.6%, an increase of 6.0%

* Burnley - 33.1% an increase of 6.0%

* Manchester - 33.6% an increase 5.8%

* Blackpool - 26.4%, an increase of 5.4%

* Tameside - 24.7%, an increase of 5.3%

Mark Russell, Chief Executive of The Children’s Society, said: “These figures show that future generations are being let down by a continued failure to stop the rising levels of child poverty across not only the North West, but the whole of the UK.

“We know that without further action the current pandemic is only going to exacerbate this issue, leaving even more families struggling with poverty, hunger and hardship.

“It is vital the government ensures local authorities are able to be there for those with nowhere else to turn.

"More investment must be given so local councils can deliver well-funded and robust emergency assistance schemes which provide a financial safety net for those in crisis.”

Anna Feuchtwang, Chair of End Child Poverty and Chief Executive of 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.

"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.

"This is why we are asking the government to strengthen the social security system which is there to hold us steady during tough times, by immediately increasing household income for those least well-off.

"Ending child poverty must be at the heart of the Government’s plan for economic recovery, so that when this crisis is over all children can enjoy a life free from poverty in which they are healthy, can thrive at school and have opportunities for the future."

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