17,000 children live in poverty in Sunderland

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NEW figures reveal that more than 17,000 children are living in poverty in Sunderland.

The report shows almost one in three children on Wearside are living below the breadline.

The figures reveal Hendon is the worst-hit part of the city with 1,320 – 51 per cent – children living in deprivation.

Other badly-hit areas included Southwick, 44 per cent, Pallion, 42 per cent, and Redhill, 40 per cent.

Councillor for Hendon, Barbara McClennan, said: “In many ways it doesn’t surprise me because historically Hendon is one of the most deprived areas in the city.

“However, despite that, our children do remarkably well in education and that is because of the investment the council has made in education before children get to school, and that continues right through their academic life.

“Children right across the city have had the best exam results ever.

“There is a significant amount to be done in terms of building skills and employment opportunities and perhaps most importantly, supporting our residents through the benefit changes coming in April.”

The report from The Campaign to End Child Poverty published national figures that provide a child poverty map of the UK broken down by parliamentary constituency, local authority and ward.

The Campaign to End Child Poverty is made up of organisations including child welfare organisations, social justice groups and children’s charities such as Barnardo’s and Save the Children.

Enver Solomon, chairman of the Campaign, said: “Far too many children whose parents are struggling to make a living are having to go hungry and miss out on the essentials of a decent childhood that all young people should be entitled to.

“The huge disparities that exist across the country have become more entrenched and are now an enduring reality as many more children are set to become trapped in long-term poverty and disadvantage.

“We’re calling on authorities to prioritise low-income families in the decisions they make about local welfare spending, including spending on the new council tax benefit and on protecting families hit by the bedroom tax.

“This week we have written to local authority leaders with the most child poverty, asking them what they will do to tackle child poverty in their local area.

“The Government must also closely examine its current strategy for reducing poverty and consider what more it could do to ensure millions of children’s lives are not blighted by the corrosive impact that poverty has on their daily existence.”

The figures reveal that Sunderland ranks just outside the top 20 worst areas in the UK for child poverty – at 29 per cent – with 17,181 of the city’s children living in deprivation.

Two Tyne and Wear authorities were listed in the top 20. Newcastle has 33 per cent of children living in poverty, and South Tyneside has 31 per cent.

Steve Oversby, director of children’s charity Barnardo’s North East, said: “Today’s statistics mask the individual stories of millions of children, whose life chances are being compromised by our nation’s failure to tackle child poverty effectively.

“The Government must act now to end child poverty by providing practical help to the people who need it most, taking steps to bring down energy bills, tackle family debt and make childcare more affordable.”

l How can Sunderland tackle child poverty. Do you know anyone who is living below the breadline? If so, call the Echo news desk on 501 7208 or see Page 20 for contact details.