Pledge to end Sunderland’s 17,000 child poverty shame

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CITY councillors today vowed to break the cycle of poverty and reduce the number of children leading deprived lives in Sunderland.

The pledge came as it was revealed there are more than 17,000 children living in poverty on Wearside.

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Councillor Pat Smith, responsible for children’s services, said the authority was working hard to stop it.

“We recognise that child poverty is an issue which affects the whole of the UK, including Sunderland and to that end we published our Child and Family Poverty Strategy in 2011,” she said.

“The strategy sets out our vision to ensure that all city council services and local partners are working collectively to do everything possible to reduce child and family poverty in Sunderland, mitigate its effects in the city, and ensure that today’s children don’t become the parents of poor children in 2025.”

Council bosses said their approach to tackling the problem considers economic factors such as parental income, household costs and welfare dependency but also indirect factors such as education, training and skills, job availability, childcare, and ability to manage income among others.

Shocking figures released by the Campaign to End Child Poverty yesterday revealed that almost 30 per cent of children– 17,181 – on Wearside are leading deprived lives.

This means that a family with two parents and two children are surviving off less than £349 per week, have parents unemployed, live in poor housing or have worrying debt levels, among other criteria.

The dossier broke the figures down into wards and revealed that Hendon is the most poverty stricken area in the city, with 51 per cent, or 1,320 of its children living in deprivation.

Other hard-hit areas include Southwick, with 44 per cent of children living in poverty, Pallion, 42 per cent and Redhill, 40 per cent.

Coun Smith said: “Our approach has always been to support the poorest and most needy families by working in partnership to break the cycle of poverty.”

Twitter: @Monica_Turnbull

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