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Councils ‘need to tackle wide disparities in child poverty’

By Vivienne Russell | 20 February 2013

Child poverty campaigners are pressing councils to prioritise the needs of low-income families as figures published today showed wide disparities in wealth across the UK.

The Campaign to End Child Poverty produced a child poverty map of the UK, broken down by parliamentary constituency, local authority and ward. Council figures showed that relative child poverty was highest in Tower Hamlets (42%), Manchester (38%), Middlesbrough (37%) and Derry (35%).

Constituencies with the highest child poverty levels were: Manchester Central (47%); Belfast West (43%); Glasgow North East; and Birmingham Ladywood (42%).

The campaign also highlighted the stark variations within regions. For example, the constituency of Richmond in west London has a child poverty rate of just 7%, compared with 41% in Poplar & Limehouse in east London. Manchester’s 38% poverty rate contrasts with Ribble Valley in Lancashire where only 7% of children live in poor households.

Campaign chair Enver Solomon said: ‘The huge disparities that exist across the country have become more entrenched and are now an enduring reality as many more children are set to become trapped in long-term poverty and disadvantage.

‘Local authorities are having to deal with reduced budgets but they have critical decisions to make. We’re calling on authorities to prioritise low-income families in the decisions they make about local welfare spending, including spending on the new Council Tax Benefit, and on protecting families hit by the “bedroom tax”.

‘This week we have written to the local authority leaders in the local authorities with the most child poverty, asking them what they will do to tackle child poverty in their local area.’

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