Action is needed to tackle “outrageous” levels of child poverty in parts of the region, campaigners have urged.
It comes as figures suggest nine of the 12 North East councils have wards where more than 20% of children live in pockets of severe poverty.
The worst areas were in Middlesbrough (33%), Hartlepool (29%), Newcastle (28%) and South Tyneside (26.5%).
The North East Child Poverty Commission warned inflation, unemployment and cuts could see levels of deprivation spiral.
> Oh wow – they’re on the ball, aren’t they ? What do they think has been happening these last few years ?
The group has produced a map of child poverty for every ward, council and constituency in the region.
The map classes children as living in poverty if they are in families on out of work benefits or work tax credits where income is less than 60% of median – before housing costs.
Alan Milburn, who chairs the Social Mobility and Child Poverty (SMCP) commission said current levels of child poverty in the North are a “moral outrage” and have to change.
> MP for Darlington from 1992 until 2010. He served for five years in the Cabinet, first as Chief Secretary to the Treasury from 1998 to 1999, and subsequently as Secretary of State for Health until 2003.
A strong supporter of Tony Blair‘s policies, especially his continued policy of increased private involvement in public service provision
Following his resignation as Secretary of State for Health (to spend more time with his family), Milburn took a post for £30,000 a year as an advisor to Bridgepoint Capital, a venture capital firm heavily involved in financing private health-care firms moving into the NHS, including Alliance Medical, Match Group, Medica and the Robinia Care Group. He has been Member of Advisory Board of PepsiCo since April 2007.
Another New Labour “socialist” you could trust with your life… if you’re tired of living.
The former Labour cabinet minister said: “Poor kids in the region are four times as likely to be poor adults.
“The poorest kids in the region’s schools face a double whammy. They arrive at primary school less ready to learn than their more privileged peers and only a third leave primary school with the required levels of reading and writing.
“Two in three of those kids then leave secondary school without five good GCSEs. The challenge we have in this country is at large in the North.
“Children post 16 are more likely to drop out of education than anywhere else in the country. The region also has the lowest rate of children going to university.
“It is more clear than ever that effective collaboration at all levels of government is required to help ensure the right conditions for children living in these deprived communities.”
The figures come three days before a group of young people from the region march on Parliament to give MPs their views on how to tackle child poverty.
As reported last week, more than half of the 38-strong cohort of youngsters that have been working on a children’s manifesto hail from the region.
They will present their national findings to an All Party Parliamentary Group on Wednesday.
Source – Sunday Sun, 12 Oct 2014