The East London constituency of Bethnal Green and Bow has the highest levels of child poverty in the UK, according to the Campaign to end Child Poverty, with more than half (51%) of children stricken by poverty.
The child poverty map, published on Tuesday, reveals high levels of child poverty throughout the UK, with one in five children (20.9%) currently classed as below the poverty line.
The London constituencies of Poplar and Canning Town (48%), Islington South and Finsbury (46%), Hackney South and Shoreditch (45%) and Regent's Park and North Kensington (44%) all feature in the top ten list of the worst affected areas.
The figures also reveal "serious concentrations" of deprivation for local authorities with high levels of child poverty found in Tower Hamlets (52%), Islington (43%), Manchester (40%), Hackney (39%) and Westminster (38%).
The parliamentary constituencies with the lowest levels of child poverty include Buckingham (5%), Sheffield, Hallam (5%), Henley (6%) and the Vale of York (6%). The local authorities with the lowest levels are the Isles of Scilly (3%), Hart (5%) and Wokingham (5%).
The figures were arrived at using 2009 tax credit data to “give the percentage of children on low incomes in local authorities, parliamentary constituencies and wards across the UK”, updated with more recent “regional trends” to take into account parental job losses.
According to a statement release by the Campaign, “between 1998 and 2010, the number of children in poverty was reduced by 900,000”.
However, forecasts by the Institute for Fiscal Studies suggest present coalition policies “will cause a further rise in child poverty”, with the Treasury’s income distribution analysis for tax and benefit changes published with the Autumn Statement 2011 responsible for putting “children’s wellbeing at risk”.
The report also highlighted the effect of recession on child poverty, stating that more children are now living in families where nobody works (the number of children in workless households rose from 1.7 million to 1.9 million in 2009).
According to the authors, the report “serves as a warning of the situation we are in, and the pressures we face, as Britain’s poorest children look to the current government to live up to their goal of making British poverty history and ending child poverty”.
Under the Child Poverty Act 2010, the government has an obligation to reduce child poverty to a series of targets across a set of measures by 2020. So far, 89 constituencies have already met the Government's headline target for 2020, boasting child poverty rates of 10% or less.
Both the Prime Minster’s Witney constituency (7%) and the Deputy Prime Minster’s Sheffield Hallam constituency (5%), feature in the top 10 for the lowest rates of child poverty.
“The Prime Minister should make a New Year’s resolution to keep his pledge to ‘make British poverty history’ so that not just children in Witney, but children all over Britain can enjoy a childhood free from poverty,” said Alison Garnham, Executive Director of the Campaign.
“The child poverty map paints a stark picture of a socially segregated Britain where the life chances of millions of children are damaged by poverty and inequality,” she added.
“But it also gives us reason for hope. The child poverty target has already been met in the Prime Minister’s constituency and nearly a hundred others, so never let it be said that the targets are impossible to meet. If we can do it in Witney today, we can do it in Hackney tomorrow.
According to Enver Solomon, Policy Director at The Children’s Society, the map paints a “bleak portrait… with some areas having child poverty rates of as little as five percent, while others face as much as ten times that. It’s not a fair picture either, revealing 100 local wards with child poverty rates between 50 and 70 percent. Such pockets of deprivation should not be tolerated in this country.”
Solomon warned that the situation could worsen “as caps on housing benefit and benefits for out-of-work households creates excluded areas for low-income families.”
“The Child Poverty Map should act as a stark reminder for the need to reduce child poverty across the nation,” he said.
Local authorities with the highest levels of child poverty:
- Tower Hamlets 52%
- Islington 43%
- Manchester 40%
- Hackney 39%
- Westminster 38%
- Newham 37%
- Camden 37%
- Derry 36%
- Nottingham 35%
- Belfast 35%
- Bethnal Green and Bow 51%
- Manchester Central 49%
- Poplar and Canning Town 48%
- Belfast West 46%
- Birmingham, Ladywood 46%
- Liverpool, Riverside 46%
- Islington South and Finsbury 46%
- Hackney South and Shoreditch 45%
- Birmingham, Sparkbrook and Small Heath 45%
- Regent's Park and North Kensington 44%
Parliamentary constituencies with highest levels of child poverty: