Child poverty continues to rise in North East as campaigners call for urgent action

Child poverty in the North East remains alarmingly high and is projected to rise further over the coming years. Credit: PA

Campaigners are calling for urgent action as new figures show the number of children in the North East living in poverty continues to rise.

Nearly 200,000 children across the region have been living in poverty over the past three years according to Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

Think-tank, Resolution Foundation, predicts a further rise over the coming years too.

In response, regional campaigners have renewed calls for national government action in order to tackle the shocking social issue.

Anna Turley, Chair of the North East Child Poverty Commission, said: "These new figures must act as a wake-up call to Government that the time for sticking plaster measures and crisis responses to hardship is long over.

"All the evidence tells us that we will not improve opportunities and reduce inequalities for children here in the North East unless we tackle shockingly high rates of child poverty, which are holding far too many young people and our region back.

"Children and young people across the North East urgently need a long-term, joined up national plan to prevent and significantly reduce child poverty and they don’t have time to wait."

Sophie, a university student and Youth Ambassador for End Child Poverty, has first-hand experience of growing up in poverty and found herself "worrying about money."

Her worries remain to this day and she reacted on Twitter to today's DWP figures.

She said: "The pressure for change from the government is huge, it is no longer a cry for help from poorer families but an absolute need.

"Behind the statistics of child poverty are people like me, currently we feel like we don't matter."

According to DWP data, almost 190,000 babies, children and young people across the North East have been living in poverty over the past three years - 35% of the area's young population and an increase of 44,000 children over the past decade.

In 2021/22, 29% of the nation's 4.2 million children lived in poverty according to today's figures which is a notable increase of 3.6 million over the past decade.

The North East has the UK's highest proportion of children living in lone parent families and along with Wales has the joint highest rate of children living in families where someone has a disability.

Today's figures show that nationally 36% of children who reside with a disabled family member and 44% living with a lone parent are growing up in poverty.

A spokesperson for DWP said: “These latest figures reflect the country coming out of the pandemic and accompanying rising prices, which we have since helped to address with record levels of support.

“We are committed to eradicating poverty and supporting those in need, and our actions have helped ensure there are nearly two million fewer people, including 400,000 fewer children, in absolute poverty than there were in 2009/10."

The Independent Resolution Foundation predict that by 2027/28 child poverty is expected to be "highest since 1998/99."

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To know...