51,000 children in the North East pulled into poverty since 2015, study finds

Six areas in the region have seen the highest rise of child poverty since 2014/2015 Credit: PA Images

New research has found that 51,000 more children in the North East have been pulled into poverty since 2015.

The study by Loughborough University for the End Child Poverty coalition estimates that 190,000 – or 35% – of babies, children and young people across the region were living below the poverty line in 2021/22, after housing costs were taken into account.

This was up from 26% in 2014/15 - making it the steepest rise of anywhere in the country over that period.

Across the UK, 4.2million children were living below the poverty line in 2021/22. This is 29% of all children across the country – the same rate nationally as in 2014/15.

The report found that of the twenty UK Parliamentary seats that have seen the biggest rises in child poverty since 2014/15, six of them are in the North East.

This includes Middlesbrough, Gateshead, Redcar, Sedgefield, Darlington, and Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland.

21 out of the North East’s 29 Westminster constituencies have more than one in three children living below the poverty line.

What are the highest rates in the North East?

  • Middlesbrough - 48.7%

  • Newcastle Central - 43.0%

  • South Shields - 39.7%

  • Gateshead - 38.9%

  • Redcar - 38.4%

Of the children in the North East living in poverty, nearly one in seven come from a working household.

Almost 64% of children from Black or ethnic minority communities in the region are estimated to be in poverty - the highest rate of anywhere in the UK for children in this group.

Regional charities have said that some families are struggling to provide the basics for their children, including getting nappies. Credit: PA

Chair of the North East Child Poverty Commission, Anna Turley, said: "These new figures don’t even account for the hardship being felt today by growing numbers of North East families as a result of the cost of living crisis, which is hitting those already on low incomes the very hardest.

"The findings of this report are all the more shocking, because we know that poverty is not an unsolvable problem – including for children here in the North East, which should be the best place to grow up and raise a family."

The findings of the research have been described as "simply unacceptable" and "shameful" by regional campaigners.

One campaigner has said the research "confirms just how many more young lives across our region have been held back by poverty – and all the barriers it can bring – over much of the last decade."

Leigh Elliott, Chief Executive of the charity Children North East, said: "We know from our work with children and families in schools and communities across the North East how tough life has been for many years.

"But those longer-term challenges are now being exacerbated by the soaring cost of household essentials – which means even more young people unable to participate fully in school, enjoy the experiences that should be part of every childhood and fulfil their potential."

Manager of Thrive Teesside, Tracey Herrington, said: "The current crisis is just making lives even harder – and behind every one of the statistics in this report is a child whose family has seen the gap between what they have and what they need to get by grow even bigger, and whose opportunities have been restricted as a result.

"This includes the increasing number of North East families who are in work, but are simply unable to provide the basics for their children."

Emilie de Bruijn, co-founder and Chair of Hartlepool Baby Bank, said: "There’s been absolutely no let-up in the growth in demand we’ve seen since we first opened in 2019.

"It cannot be right that so many families across our region are now turning to charities like ours to support them with the absolute basics, whether that’s a packet of baby wipes, soap or nappies."

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