SHOCKING stastics have revealed that almost a quarter of children in some Redditch wards are living in poverty.
Three Redditch wards feature in a list of the top 10 worst areas in Worcestershire for child poverty, according to figures published by the Campaign to End Child Poverty
Greenlands is sixth on the list with a 24 per cent child poverty percentage (585 children), Batchley was at number seven, with 23 per cent of children living in poverty (492 children), and Abbey was at number nine, with 21 per cent (256).
Just missing the worst 10 list in the county were Church Hill and Lodge Park, where child poverty is at 20 per cent.
These contract dramatically to many other areas of Redditch which fare well according to the newly released figures, such as Inkberrow and West ward, where the percentage of children living in poverty is below five per cent.
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.
Redditch MP Karen Lumley said: “Child poverty is one of the biggest issues facing our country and indeed our county and the Government sees tackling child poverty as one of its key priorities. We must recognise that poverty is not always just about a lack of money; it often has more to do with a lack of employment, educational failure, debt, drink and substance abuse and family breakdown. It is vital that we get to the root cause of these problems rather than simply trying to treat the symptoms.
“The introduction of the Universal Credit is designed to withdraw benefits more slowly as people earn more so that people are no longer faced with the 96 per cent tax rates that they are effectively hit with now. Under Universal Credit, 3 million families will be better off by around £168 a month. The majority of these – 75 per cent - will come from the bottom two fifths of the income scale.
“The Government also recognises that childcare is often a major barrier for parents entering the job market and this is why the Government is investing an additional £300 million into childcare support. This is introduced along with pupil premium which is putting £2.5 billion into school funding, as a way of addressing inequality. This will take time but these are very real measures to tackle, help tackle disadvantage and ensure that all pupils get the high quality education they deserve.”
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).
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) Greenlands, Redditch (Redditch): 24 per cent
Droitwich West, Droitwich (Wychavon): 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