Nearly half of children in Luton and Peterborough live in poverty

Credit: ITV News Anglia

Nearly half of all children in Luton and Peterborough are living in poverty according to a new study.

The group End Child Poverty is calling for the government to do more to make sure families can afford the basics for their children, as well as extend the scope of free school meals.

It is not just Luton and Peterborough where the problem lies. In fact the research carried out by Loughborough University on behalf of the coalition, also found that more than a third of children in Ipswich, Clacton and Great Yarmouth are living in poverty.

In Ipswich alone 10,036 children and young people are now living in poverty in Ipswich, -that's 37% of all children and young people in the town. In 2015, the figures were 7,769, and 29%, respectively.

As the cost of living bites, many families are using food banks or parents skip meals to feed their children. Credit: ITV News Anglia

The End Child Poverty Coalition is calling for the government to ensure:

  • Universal Credit payments deductions are reduced and the benefit cap abolished.

  • There is improved access to free or affordable childcare.

  • Free School Meals in England and Wales are extended to all children in families receiving Universal Credit.

Rachel Walters, End Child Poverty Coalition Coordinator said; "Child poverty isn't inevitable, the government can make changes to ensure that families are able to afford the basics for their children.

"We need urgent decisive action to ensure that next year we aren't reporting exactly the same figures.

"All children across the UK, deserve to live free of poverty and to have the same chances as their peers."

From later this week the government says it will start making direct payment to those who are struggling the most to deal with the rising food and energy bills.