More than half of families living in Middlesbrough struggle to put food on the table, shocking new figures show.
In the town, 50.7% of children are living in poverty, according to figures from the Campaign to End Child Poverty, making it the most deprived area in the North East.
It compared to just 3.6% of children in the Stocksfield and Broomhaugh ward of Northumberland.
Figures are based on the proportion of children living households their families are in receipt of out of work benefits or in receipt of in-work tax credits and where their reported family income is less than 60% of median income after housing costs.
This week, young people from across the North East marched on Parliament to have their voices heard on child poverty.
A 38-strong-team – including 13 children from the North East – made the long trip to London to present their manifesto to a cross-party panel at Westminster.
Written by children aged 13 to 18, it targeted government-led policies against child poverty which they feel have “failed” to engage young people.
The children’s manifesto calls for every family in Britain to meet a minimum standard of living, not just surviving; for an equal school experience for all; for affordable, decent homes for everyone; for young people to have access to three affordable healthy meals a day; for all to feel and be safe; and for all young people to access affordable transport.
The children presented their manifesto to MPs Chris White (Conservative), David Ward (Liberal Democrat) and Teresa Pearce (Labour).
Liam Binns, 17, from Newcastle, spoke of how the issue affected young people in his community.
“It costs £4 for a meal at Newcastle College and a lot of kids can’t afford that,” he said. “It also costs kids £2.30 to travel into school or college on the bus everyday.
“How can we stop child poverty and under-achievement in our communities when we’re not operating on a level playing field?
“If it’s free education for all, why are we having to pay for food and travel?”
Source – Middlesbrough Evening Chronicle, 18 Oct 2014