Number of North East children pulled into poverty since 2015 nearly enough to fill St James’ Park
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Analysis carried out by Loughborough University for the End Child Poverty coalition estimates 35% of babies, children and young people across the region were living below the poverty line last year, rising 26% from 2014/15.
This is the steepest rise of anywhere in the country.
Anna Turely, chair of the North East Child Poverty Commission, said: “It’s simply unacceptable that tens of thousands more children have been pulled into poverty across our region since 2015 – and these new figures don’t even account for the hardship being felt today by growing numbers of North East families as a result of the cost of living crisis, which is hitting those already on low incomes the very hardest.
“The findings of this report are all the more shocking, because we know that poverty is not an unsolvable problem – including for children here in the North East, which should be the best place to grow up and raise a family.”
Across the UK, 4.2 million children were living below the poverty line in 2021/22, 29% of all children across the country- a figure which hasn’t changed since 2015.
“In what remains one of the wealthiest countries in the world, it is absolutely within our gift to fix this and doing so should be the aim of any Government. But this has to start with political determination, a joined-up plan which recognises the scale of the challenge we face, and the right long-term investment in children and families,” Anna concluded.
21 out of the North East’s 29 constituencies have more than one in three children living below the poverty line.
Almost two thirds of children from Black or minoritised ethnic communities in the region are estimated to be in poverty- the highest rate of anywhere in the UK for children of this age group.
Leigh Elliott, chief executive of Children North East, added: “Every child in every part of the North East deserves to have the best possible start in life, but this research confirms just how many more young lives across our region have been held back by poverty – and all the barriers it can bring – over much of the last decade.
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“We know from our work with children and families in schools and communities across the North East how tough life has been for many years. But those longer-term challenges are now being exacerbated by the soaring cost of household essentials – which means even more young people unable to participate fully in school, enjoy the experiences that should be part of every childhood and fulfil their potential.
“This is shameful when we have the resources and ability as a country to put this right.”