30/09/2008

'Millions' Of Children In The UK Face Poverty

Around 5.5 million children in the UK are living in or on the brink of poverty, according to new research.

The figures released by the Campaign to End Child Poverty also show 174 of the 646 constituencies throughout Britain have 50% or more children living in poverty, or are in families struggling on low incomes.

Households living on under £10 per person per day, are classed by the campaign as being in poverty.

It is the first time the number of children in struggling families has been calculated, and the numbers have been released just days before the coalition - including more than 130 organisations including Barnardo's, NSPCC and Unicef - is due to stage a rally called 'Keep The Promise'.

According to research, there are more 4,634,000 children in England living in low income families. Meanwhile, in Wales there are 297,000, 428,000 in Scotland and 198,000 in Northern Ireland.

In individual constituencies, Birmingham Ladywood was top of the list, with the largest amount of children living in or close to poverty, standing at a staggering 81% (28,420 individuals).

Within Ladywood, one ward, Aston, has 87% of its youngsters struggling to get by.

Campaign Director Hilary Fisher called the figures "absolutely shocking".

She added: "There are currently 3,900,000 children in the UK that are classed as actually living in poverty, which impacts on every aspect of a child's life.

"A child in poverty is 10 times more likely to die in infancy, and five times more likely to die in an accident.

"Adults who lived in poverty as a child are 50 times more likely to develop a restrictive illness as diabetes or bronchitis."

The coalition's Campaign Chairman Martin Narey also said: "Pockets of our country are in turmoil.

"These figures show us that there are millions more children then originally thought being failed by the system."

The Campaign to End Child Poverty will stage a rally in Trafalgar Square, supported by singer Sophie Ellis Bextor, on Saturday, October 4, called Keep The Promise. It will call on Gordon Brown to keep the promise the Labour Government made - originally announced in 1999 by Tony Blair - to halve child poverty by 2010.

(JM)

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