WORRYING new figures today reveal that almost one-quarter of Sunderland’s children are growing up in poverty.
The Campaign to End Child Poverty, a coalition of charities, has said Wearside and the North East will see one of the biggest leaps because it has seen the fastest rise in unemployment since 2009.
Sunderland overall has a child poverty level of 26 per cent, but a study using the boundaries of the old Sunderland South constituency shows the area has a level of 30 per cent – well above the UK average of 21 per cent.
The figures show a huge range across the city. Just five per cent of children in Fulwell are classed as living in poverty, while the figure in Hendon, just a couple of miles away, is 47 per cent.
The campaign today publishes a report and data providing a child poverty map of North East England and information showing the child poverty rate for every ward, local authority and constituency.
Children are classed as living in poverty if their family’s income was less than 60 per cent of the average. The report used tax credit data to calculate the proportion of children living in low-income homes.
The campaign is warning that tax and benefit cuts outlined in the Chancellor’s autumn statement will see the poorest families bearing the brunt of the Government’s austerity measures.
Alison Garnham, executive director of the campaign, said: “The Government must act urgently to prevent a rise in child poverty in the North East of England.
“There simply aren’t enough jobs in the North East and too parents are losing work and having to claim unemployment benefits.
“The situation is being made worse by cuts to benefits and tax credits, which means too much of the burden of deficit reduction is being put unfairly on to families in those regions where unemployment is highest and low pay is a widespread problem.”