One in three children living in poverty in parts of Ashfield

Child poverty is on the increase (image posed by an actress)
Child poverty is on the increase (image posed by an actress)

Shock new figures show one in three children in parts of Ashfield are now living in poverty.

Foodbanks, living from day to day in debt and crippling uncertainty about the future have become the reality of life for people who cannot afford to feed or clothe their families.

A report by the End Child Poverty campaign shows Ashfield is in the worst top ten affected areas in the East Midlands.

The report says 17 per cent of children in the constituency are living in poverty even before outgoings on housing are taking into consideration.

The figures place Ashfield among the top ten worst constituencies in the whole of the East Midlands when it comes to the percentage of children living poverty – ranking tenth out of 46.

In four wards in Ashfield – Sutton East (34 per cent), Kirkby East (33 per cent), Eastwood South (31 per cent) and Kirkby West(31 per cent) almost one in three kids now live in poverty.

David Holmes, Chairman of End Child Poverty, said: “These figures reveal just how widely and deeply child poverty reaches into our communities.

“Far too many children whose parents are struggling to make a living are suffering as a result and missing out on the essentials of a decent childhood that all young people should be entitled to. Poverty ruins childhoods and reduces life chances.

“Failing to invest properly in children is a false economy: already child poverty costs the country £29 billion each year and in the long run taxpayers will foot an even higher bill for correcting the damage.

“We are calling on politicians of all parties to urgently set out a clear roadmap towards ending child poverty which includes the additional actions needed and the measures by which progress will be tracked.”

Low paid jobs zero hour contracts spiralling debts, the bedroom tax and benefit sanctions are just some of the reasons cited for families not being able to keep their heads above water.

Sue Davis, Chief Executive of Ashfield Citizens Advice Bureau, said a third of the bureau’s work is debt-related issues and a further third are in relation to welfare benefits.

She said: “A third of the Ashfield people who ask the bureau for help, state that they have dependent children - this is probably higher as not all people inform us of this fact.

“However, when it comes to debt, 42 per cent state that they have dependent children with 39 per cent in relation to benefits advice.

She said: “The bureau dealt with £2.16 million worth of debt in the last six months and helped families access over £620,000 worth of benefits they didn’t know they were entitled to.

“Although it is not recorded whether all these families are living in poverty, it is fair to say that they are not visiting the bureau because they can afford to live without our help. The rise in food banks is also a telling indicator that families are in crisis across Ashfield.”

Children are said to be in poverty if they live in a household with an income less than 60 per cent of the national average.

Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero said: “Children in Ashfield are clearly paying the price for the Lib Dem and Tory Government’s failure. This research is appalling and it should shock ministers into action.”

Liberal Democrat councillor Jason Zadrozny said: “Any child suffering from poverty is a cause for concern. We need to work harder as although child poverty has improved since Labour were booted out of Government, in my view it is not quick enough.”