MORE than one in five Redditch children are in poverty, the Advertiser can reveal.

Statistics gleaned from national Government data reveals how 22 per cent of the borough's youngsters are classed as poor.

Redditch's rate is the third highest in Worcestershire and only eight per cent lower than the national average.

It comes after a child poverty action group hit out over the rising tide of low paid workers, saying it is plunging too many families into problems.

The group claims that 30 per cent of children across the UK are currently in poverty.

The Advertiser has obtained a breakdown for each of the county's parliamentary constituencies revealing child poverty rates to be 17 per cent in Wychavon, 21 per cent in Malvern, 26 per cent in Wyre Forest, 23 per cent in Worcester and 15 per cent in Bromsgrove.

It means more than 20,000 Worcestershire children aged under 16 are classed as poor.

A Worcestershire County Council spokesman said: "Supporting children and families to escape poverty is one of the County Council's top priorities and we are committed to doing everything we can to tackle the many problems poverty can cause in local communities.

"Supporting the most vulnerable members of society is at the heart of everything we do, and we work in a targeted way through a number of initiatives in areas of highest need across the County. 

"One of our four key corporate priorities is  to grow the local economy, and we are doing all we can to create business conditions for economic success which will reduce numbers living in poverty.

"Meanwhile we work with our partners and schools to make sure children and young people have access to the best possible education, and our local further and higher educational institutions are growing fast. 

"We also mitigate against the impact of poverty through our work with children and young people, building resilience and targeting our services at those who need them most.

"This includes our Early Years support, which helps to ensure working parents can remain in employment, targeting Parenting Support within our most disadvantaged communities, and offering early years' education placements for two year olds.

"We will continue to work with local communities and partners to build resilience in those areas where poverty is highest."

The Child Poverty Action Group says nationally it has risen by 100,000 to four million, calling it a "burning injustice".

Two thirds of the youngsters come from working families, although it affects nearly half of single parent households.

Relative poverty is based on a household earning 'below 60 per cent' of the national median income of £26,300 after taxes and benefits.