[back] Poverty

[Blair's real Britain.  Amazing figures, 27% of British children live in poverty.  See: Infection & nutrition]

17 October 2006

UK CHILD POVERTY - THE FACTS
No heating, no birthdays, no hope..
http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/topstories/tm_method=full%26objectid=17942883%26siteid=94762-name_page.html By Bob Roberts Deputy Political Editor

IT is the bleak and disturbing underbelly of Britain, a level of poverty that disgraces the fourth richest nation on earth.

New figures show that at least 3.4 million children in the UK are blighted by destitution, their parents too poor to feed, clothe or shelter them properly.

Even the government now admits that it is likely to miss its much-vaunted pledge to alleviate child poverty,

But a recently formed confederation of 50 charities, churches and unions - the End Child Poverty Campaign - says the problem is much, much worse.

The government calculates poverty as a family of four surviving on an income of 210 from which living costs need to be paid.

But the ECPC says that figure misses by a mile and it calculates that any couple with two young children and an income of 295 - after housing costs are paid - falls into the poverty trap.

Work and Pension Secretary John Hutton admits the government has to "renew its efforts" to tackle the problem and will announce he is reviewing the child-poverty strategy.

But the campaigners say any action needs to be backed with money - and lots of it.

They are demanding an extra 4billion to go into benefits and the minimum wage.

And they warn that unless there is a serious assault on poverty, Tony Blair will not have kept the key New Labour pledge he made when he came to power - to halve child poverty by 2010 and eradicate it by 2020.

The campaigners scoured government reports and academic research to uncover the key facts about poverty in the UK.

Here is why they say dramatic action must be taken...

ALMOST 10 per cent of single cannot afford to buy more than one pair of shoes for their children.

THERE are currently 3.4 million children in poverty, 27 per cent of all British children.

THE UK has the fourth highest level of child poverty of all 25 European Union countries.

FOR the first time, children are more likely to live in poverty than the elderly.

AROUND five per cent of all children live in severe poverty.

A SINGLE parent with two children aged 5 and 11 needs 205 a week to rise above the poverty line.

THE highest concentration of child poverty is in London where 41 per cent of children live in poverty.

48 per cent of all single-parent households live below the poverty line.

57 per cent of families with Pakistani and Bangladeshi background are in poverty.

20 per cent oi all British.larnilies receiving government tax credits are still the poverty line living below the poverty line.

ONLY Italy, Portugal and the Slovak Republic have worse levels of poverty than the UK.

BRITISH poverty rates are 50 per cent higher than in France and more than twice as high as in the Scandinavian countries

400,000 children have inadequate diets.

THREE quarters of a million children go without a warm waterproof coat or proper shoes in winter.

ONE million children are too poor to afford to visit family, have birthday celebrations or attend weddings.

A BOY in born Manchester can expect to live seven years less than a boy from Barnet, North London because of poverty-related health differences.

SIMILARLY, a girl born in Manchester can expect to live six years less than a girl born in Chelsea.

BABIES from poor families are on average 4.5ozs lighter than those from rich families because of poor nutrition.

TWO adults with two children would have to work 55 hours a week at the minimum wage to get above the poverty line.

TO be a living wage, the minimum wage would need to rise to 7.05 per hour from 5.35 today.

PARENTS must spend an average of 25 a week per child on everyday costs of going to school such as uniforms, trips and PE kit.

TYPICAL cost of a full-time nursery place is 142 making it impossible of many mothers to go back to work.

CHILDREN who are growing up in poverty are more likely to leave school at 16.

CHILDREN from families of unskilled labourers are 15 times more likely to die from a fire at home.

CHILDREN from poor backgrounds have on average 1.8 decayed teeth by the age of five.

For children from professional families the figure is 1.2.

23 per cent of single parent families cannot afford school trips for their youngsters.

AROUND 52,000 families with children became homeless in 2005.

INCREASING gas and electricity costs means three million families are expected to be unable to heat their homes this year.

AROUND three million people use doorstep moneylenders charging exorbitant interest rates to buy basics such as beds and school uniform.

SINCE 1999 the government has taken 700,000 children out of poverty by benefits and minimum wage. Another 300,000 would have to be taken out of poverty to meet its targets.

POOREST CONSTITUENCIES

 

Percentage of children in poverty

 

Manchester Central 54%

 

Liverpool Riverside 50%

 

Poplar and Canning Town 49%

 

Glasgow North East 48%

 

Tottenham 48%

 

Hackney South 47%

 

Islington South 47%

 

Bethnal Green and Bow 46%

 

Regents Park 45%

 

Birmingham, Ladywood 45%

 

Are YOU below poverty line?

 

WEEKLY income needed after housing costs (ECPC)

 

No heating, no birthdays, no hope..

 

Single person, 25 110

 

Couple, 25, no kids 201

 

Single, 25, two children (5 and 11) 205

 

Couple, 30, two children (5 and 11) 295

 

BY REGION

 

East Midlands 26%

 

Eastern 22%

 

London 39%

 

North East 32%

 

North West 29%

 

Scotland 25%

 

South East 21%

 

South West 25%

 

Wales 28%

 

West Midlands 30%

 

Yorks and Humbs 29%

 

bob.roberts@mirror.co.uk