21 Feb 2013

Child Poverty Stats Released; this ward lowest in District

Channel 4 graphic of which constituencies have more poverty
The Campaign to End Child Poverty has just released the latest data on child poverty in our District. The researchers used local tax credit data and regional trends in worklessness to estimate the number of low income families in each area - different from other official figures but are as disturbing as ever with one in five children living below the poverty line - and across the country widely varying figures. Manchester Central has 47% for example but Randwick, Whiteshill and Ruscombe are less than 5% making it the lowest in Stroud District along with Amberley.

Well over half of parents in poverty (61%) say they have cut back on food and over a quarter (26%) say they have skipped meals in the past year. It is a terrible reflection on our society that so many are having to go hungry and missing out on the essentials of a decent childhood. We urgently need the government to look at its strategy for reducing poverty and consider what more could be done to stop millions of children's lives being blighted by the corrosive impact that poverty has on their daily existence. All the evidence shows that in fairer societies everyone benefits - indeed richer people are happier too....

Locally as regular blog readers will know I am committed to creating a more equal and just society - just recently we've had confirmation of £12m to be invested in our Council housing to tackle fuel poverty and invest in renewables to cut costs in the future - an investment that came out of the work I had been doing regarding the council's Energy Strategy and standards of Council housing. There is more that can be done - just this week I have been exploring possibilities about how we can reduce the impact of the bedroom tax on some of the most vulnerable in our communities.

As the local Food bank note re the Stroud figures: "The stats are shocking with up to 26% of children in some wards being classed as in poverty. Foodbank has data that suggests that this study is still not the full picture as our stats demonstrate that wards such as Dursley, Stonehouse and Cam West are the three busiest wards for Foodbank clients in our District despite not being rated as high as other wards in the report."

See figures here for Stroud - see a useful comment about calculating the figures in Huffington Post here and The Guardian also have a blog and map with figures here.

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