Cost of living: poverty in Northampton at 'appalling highs' study finds

  • Watch a report by ITV News Anglia's Graham Stothard

As the cost of living increases one Northampton charity says the level of people living in extreme poverty in the town has reached 'appalling' new highs.

Research commissioned by Northampton Hope Centre focused on the issue of poverty in the town and found many people were so poor they were struggling to live.

The charity called it a kind of "super poverty" and found people from eastern European, black or Asian communities were struggling most with no access to public funds and at risk of exploitation.

Robin Burgess, CEO, Hope Group Northampton said: "We all have to tackle this, we all have to prioritise the needs of the very poorest in our community because it will only get worse with fuel poverty increasing the numbers."

Researchers spoke to people anonymously to try to gauge the scale of the problem in Northampton. They found people missing meals, going without to try to make ends meet.

Anne Wankiiri from the United African Association Credit: ITV Anglia

Anne Wankiiri from the United African Association said: "They're mainly working in minimum wage jobs. They're not entitled to social housing, so they have to seek higher rents."

"Even their children are not entitled to child benefits despite being born in this country where they're entitled to school lunches or school uniforms. So they're having to pay everything from their minimum wage."

This report was commissioned as the first waves of the impact of covid receded, to identify need and provide understanding of the reality of local poverty.

The aim was to help shape public responses to poverty by Hope Group and other organisations in the town.

One of the recommendations in the report was a call for more "concerted action by all at the frontline level, as well as in local authorities, to lobby for change in central government policy."

The cost of living and fuel poverty was on the agenda at Westminster on Wednesday as with the food campaigner Jack Monroe appeared before the Work and Pensions Committee.

She described the situation as desperate for many and said the cost of living crisis could be "fatal" for some children.

MPs were also debating issues surrounding food and fuel poverty, said ITV News Anglia's political correspondent, Emma Hutchinson.

She said: "It's not just food prices going up energy prices are going up sharply next month, the energy price cap will rise to nearly £700 and this comes at a time when very few people in work are getting a pay rise."

  • ITV News Anglia's political correspondent, Emma Hutchinson reports from Westminster on the cost of living crisis