New child poverty report names Tower Hamlets as the worst local authority in UK

New report on child poverty pic: Thomas Hawk

Over half of the children in Tower Hamlets are living in poverty, according to a report released today by the Campaign to End Child Poverty coalition.

In February 2011, Tower Hamlets was also reported to have among the highest proportion of child poverty by the Save the Children charity.

Material deprivation in the borough is becoming widespread as larger families struggle to meet their basic needs.

East London features prominently in the list of child poverty in the UK. Bethnal Green and Bow are the top parliamentary constituencies with fifty-two per cent child poverty, while Poplar came third. Hackney and Shoreditch are grouped together in seventh place.

In the local authorities list, Hackney is fourth worst for child poverty after Islington and Manchester.

The report exposes the vast levels of inequality that exist in the capital, as the proportion of child poverty in Tower Hamlets is 49 per cent higher than in the Richmond upon Thames at nine per cent.

Alison Graham, executive director of the End Child Poverty Campaign, said: “The child poverty map paints a stark picture of a socially segregated Britain where the life chances of millions of children are damaged by poverty and inequality.”

Graham added: “The Prime Minister should make a New Year’s resolution to keep his pledge to ‘make British poverty history’ so that not just children in Witney, but children all over Britain can enjoy a childhood free from poverty.”

Both David Cameron’s and Nick Clegg’s constituencies are in the top twenty constituencies for lowest child poverty with levels as low as five per cent.

The charity warns that the current government’s fiscal policies will cause a further rise in child poverty, with projected figures reaching 4.2 million by 2021, an increase of almost a million.

Campaign coordinator Tim Nichols listed families with disability problems, single parent families, parents with low-skill levels, and minority ethnic families as high-risk groups.

“Targeting cuts on families will prove both an economic and a social disaster, with business losing billions of pounds of demand and families struggling to keep their kids clothed, fed and warm.”

Tower Hamlets Council told EastLondonLines: “The report is a timely reminder of the challenges we face here in Tower Hamlets, and how cuts from central government have hit vulnerable groups even harder.

We know only too well the impact that poverty can have on the lives of children; blighting their education, health and potentially harming their prospects of finding employment.

But we are also proud of the great strides we have taken to address the problem here in Tower Hamlets.”

However, this latest report will highlight the continuing demand for change in the borough.

Hackney Council told EastLondonLines: ‘The need to reduce child poverty in Hackney is a high priority.

“We have undertaken a review of our approach and the recommendations from the review form the basis of our draft child poverty and family wellbeing action plan.”

Poplar and Limehouse MP, Jim Fitzpatrick has expressed his disappointment in the figures.

He was keen to stress the importance of protecting the most vulnerable from the effects of the coalition’s deficit reduction strategy.


London map of child poverty pic: Campaign to End Child Poverty

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