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‘On a cliff edge’: Half of children in Barking and Dagenham in poverty, study shows

PUBLISHED: 07:00 19 October 2020

The latest child poverty statistics have been released. Picture: Brian Lawless/PA Images

The latest child poverty statistics have been released. Picture: Brian Lawless/PA Images

PA Wire/PA Images

Half of children in Barking and Dagenham live in poverty, a study shows.

Figures released by the End Child Poverty coalition on Wednesday, October 14 reveal that a total of 49.9 per cent of children were in poverty in 2018-19.

This means the borough is the third highest in the country, behind Tower Hamlets (55pc) and Newham (50.3pc).

The Loughborough University research shows that even before the pandemic London boroughs dominated the list of UK authorities where child poverty is highest, with 14 of the top 20 hotspot boroughs in the capital.

Anna Feuchtwang, who chairs End Child Poverty, said: “This new data reveals the true extent of the hardship experienced by families on low incomes – the overwhelming majority of which were working households before the pandemic.

“The children affected are on a cliff edge, and the pandemic will only sweep them further into danger.”

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A Department for Work and Pensions spokesperson said: “There are 100,000 fewer children living in absolute poverty than in 2009/10 and making sure every child gets the best start in life is central to our efforts to level up opportunity across the country.

“We have already taken significant steps to do this by raising the living wage, ending the benefit freeze and injecting more than £9.3billion into the welfare system to help those in most need.”

Anna Feuchtwang from End Child Poverty and the National Children’s Bureau. Picture: ECPAnna Feuchtwang from End Child Poverty and the National Children’s Bureau. Picture: ECP

Barking and Dagenham’s figure represents a 6.2pc increase since 2015, the biggest in London. Numbers wise, the borough has 28,823 children in poverty.

London’s child poverty rate rose to 39pc in 2018-2019 up from 37pc the year before. It is the highest of any UK region.

The study shows that the cost of housing is a driver of child poverty in the capital.

The research was carried out using data produced by the Department for Work and Pensions in March 2020, together with housing cost data from the Valuation Office Agency and income data from the Understanding Society survey.

End Child Poverty is a grouping of organisations including children’s charities, child welfare organisations, social justice groups, faith groups, trade unions and others.


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