Child poverty shame: damning stats for Worcester, Malvern, Droitwich and Kidderminster (From Evesham Journal)
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Campaign to End Child Poverty releases figures
MORE than a third of children in deprived parts of Worcester are living in poverty which has been branded ‘shameful’ and ‘appalling’.
One of the poorest areas is Warndon, Worcester, where 34 per cent of children live in poverty according to figures published today by the Campaign to End Child Poverty.
The gap between rich and poor is illustrated by the difference between Warndon (34 per cent of children living in poverty) and Warndon Villages, often considered the city’s affluent suburban commuter belt, where only 6 per cent of children live in poverty in Warndon parish north and 5 per cent in Warndon parish north.
Jo Hodges, the Labour councillor who represents Warndon, said: “It’s an appalling figure. Any child living in poverty is a shame on our country and to have 34 per cent is appalling. Worcestershire may seem like an affluent, leafy county but there are pockets of deprivation and disadvantage within the county. It is something, as a country, we should be ashamed of. The measures that this government is bringing in with benefits will hit some of those families that are already hard hit and will make the situation worse.”
Gorse Hill (Tolladine) showed 32 per of children living in poverty. The mayor of Worcester, Coun Roger Berry, who represents that ward said: “Unfortunately these figures are likely to increase with the benefit cutbacks from April 1. The city council should not allow its residents to be ignored.”
Other hotspots of child poverty were Rainbow Hill in Worcester (29 per cent) Pickersleigh in Malvern (31 per cent) and Droitwich West (24 per cent).
Worcester’s Conservative MP Robin Walker said: “I think it is appalling that anyone has to live in poverty. We have to constantly strive to help people out of that situation. I don’t think trapping people in welfare dependency is the answer.”
He said there were initiatives to help people in deprived areas including the Tolladine Mission which provided support and advice to families in difficulties, the Troubled Families Initiative and also work to reduce fuel poverty through better insulation of homes which involved Worcester Bosch. He also said the Government was in the process of changing the National Curriculum so people develop budgeting skills at school.
Dr Carl Ellson, chief clinical officer for NHS South Worcestershire Clinical Commissioning Group, which holds the purse strings for care, said: “Reducing health inequalities is a priority and the child poverty figures released indicate some of the challenges we face as a commissioner of local healthcare.
Their ‘Strengthening Healthy Communities’ project looks at health inequalities in Gorse Hill (Tolladine), Rainbow Hill and Warndon.
The project, led by Turning Point, involves Worcester Community Trust and the CCG is recruiting 20 local community champions in these wards to help find out their views and experiences of health.
Figures show that 20.2 per cent of British children are classified as below the poverty line, before housing costs.
In eight areas of large cities, more than four out of every 10 children lived in poverty in 2012, the research showed.
The poorest constituency for children was Manchester Central, with nearly half (47 per cent) of children living in poverty. The poorest local authority was Tower Hamlets (42 per cent).
A Department for Work and Pensions spokeswoman said: "We are committed to eradicating child poverty, but we want to take a new approach by tackling the root causes including worklessness, educational failure and family breakdown.
"Our welfare reforms will improve the lives of some of the poorest families in our communities, with the Universal Credit simplifying the complex myriad of benefits and making three million people better off."
* How child poverty is measured: Children are classified as being in poverty if they live in families in receipt of out of work benefits or in-work tax credits where reported income is less than 60 per cent of median income (before housing costs are taken into account). The figures represent only a ‘modest’ official estimate of poverty according to the campaign without taking into account high rents and mortgage payments.
Worcestershire child poverty league of shame (percentage of children living in poverty).
(1) Oldington and Foley Park, Kidderminster (Wyre Forest): 41 per cent.
(2) Warndon, Worcester (Worcester City): 34 per cent.
(3) Pickersleigh, Malvern (Malvern Hills): 31 per cent
(4) Rainbow Hill, Worcester (Worcester City): 29 per cent.
(5) Broadwaters, Kidderminster (Wyre Forest): 27 per cent.
(6) Droitwich West, Droitwich (Wychavon): 24 per cent.
Greenlands, Redditch (Redditch): 24 per cent
(7) Batchley, Redditch: 23 per cent
(8) Areley Kings, (Wyre Forest): 22 per cent St John’s, Worcester (Worcester): 22 per cent.
(9) Abbey, Redditch (Redditch): 21 per cent.
(10) Charford, Bromsgrove (Bromsgrove): 20 per cent Least poor areas in Worcester with under 5 per cent child poverty: Warndon Parish south, St Peter’s and Claines.