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Child poverty as high as 40 per cent in worst hotspots

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: February 20, 2013

Comments (14)

Child poverty in pockets of deprivation across the Westcountry is as high as 40% and rising, experts claimed in response to a new report charting the extent of the problem.

Figures show that children defined as living in poverty account for around one in four in some areas, a figure characterised as seven youngsters in a typical school’s classroom.

The study comes amid Government plans to change the way the measure is worked out by moving away from a purely income-derived figure.

The authors – a coalition of charities under the banner the Campaign to End Child Poverty – calculated the measure as those in families earning less than 60% of the median income of £26,000 before housing costs or claiming out-of-work benefits.

It found the highest number was 25% in Plymouth’s Moor View and Sutton and Devonport constituencies.

Next worse off was Torbay, where some 22% were identified, followed by Camborne and Redruth in Cornwall, where the total was 20%, then Totnes, St Austell and Newquay, with 18%.

Torbay Liberal Democrat MP Adrian Sanders said the region’s four key industries – tourism, agriculture, fishing and defence – had all suffered, contributing to the problem.

He said there were structural problems holding back Torbay but added that simply counting those below a percentage of income alone was “meaningless”. “There is no easy solution,” he said.

“But what we call child poverty today is not the same as a century ago when children did not get a balanced diet, lived in poor accommodation and had nil chance of breaking free.

“We have been trying to invest in people early on to give them more opportunity through our Pupil Premium, which is directed at people from the poorest backgrounds.”

The research charted a UK-wide map which identified 69 wards were more than half of children were in child poverty.

Typical across Devon and Cornwall was 10% to 20%.

Nicky Williams, Plymouth City Council’s executive member for children’s services, said a “huge analysis” of the problem had been undertaken across the city after it had been identified as a major issue.

“In some hotspots in the city like Stonehouse it is as high as 40% – we need to target our resources and are about to publish a strategy,” she added.

Labour MP for Plymouth’s Moor View constituency Alison Seabeck said the numbers were shocking and accused the Coalition of “fudging the issue”.

“The Government is embarrassed by these rising figures which are a direct response to their welfare measures,” she said.

“By moving away from an income calculation they are trying to perform a smoke and mirrors act.”

Read more from Torquay Herald Express

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  • Charlespk  |  February 24 2013, 2:57PM

    No one is defending them and no one is 'demonizing' the poor. Just the parasitic scroungers; generations of whom have often never ever worked, and who are living much better than many other people who've worked all their lives and paid all their taxes. It's time to face the reality. http://tinyurl.com/ah8gd9z

  • Ax0l0tl  |  February 24 2013, 8:26AM

    No one has a God given right to avoid contributing their share of 'tax money'. The likes of Amazon, Vodafone and Starbucks should paid their taxes like the rest of us. Demonising the poor is not a solution.

    |   1
  • Charlespk  |  February 23 2013, 1:43PM

    There is no "The Money", just our tax money. . You've been conned by socialism. People have been accruing varying amounts of wealth for hundreds of years and they will always continue to do so. . Some work hard, save, grow things, make things and speculate; others just waste, do very little to help themselves and spend every penny that ever crosses their palms. "Tinker, tailor, soldier, sailor; rich man, poor man, beggar man, thief." . We are all different.

  • Ax0l0tl  |  February 23 2013, 12:53PM

    The money is lining the pockets of the rich and powerful and bail outs for the bankers.

  • Charlespk  |  February 23 2013, 12:44PM

    And what about all the old people who have contributed all their lives that now go cold and hungry, because the money is all being spent on these workshy scroungers? She's nothing but parasite how ever it's reported. No one has a God given right not to be poor on this earth. There is no 'magic pot of money'. . You have to work for it.

  • Ax0l0tl  |  February 23 2013, 11:13AM
  • Charlespk  |  February 22 2013, 2:46PM

    Quote:- "Britain cannot possibly afford its welfare state for much longer. Most people do not realise that state handouts (£207 billion a year) mop up every penny we pay in income tax (£155 billion a year)." Only those paying the income tax have been bailing out the bankers. . The State has no money, only a credit card that becomes increasingly worthless as each day passes. There are now more real 'poor' people subsidising comfortably off people like this than at any time in our history. http://tinyurl.com/ah8gd9z

    |   2
  • Ax0l0tl  |  February 22 2013, 2:12PM

    Demonise the poor, bail out the bankers.

    |   -2
  • Charlespk  |  February 22 2013, 9:26AM

    Peter Hitchens quote:- "That is because this immense and unaffordable attempt to substitute the State for the married family is at the heart of the political revolution which began 50 years ago and is now reaching its sad and bankrupt end."

    |   1
  • omnivore23  |  February 22 2013, 9:24AM

    I know which brother got the brains eh Charles?