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One-in-three children across the Black Country are living in poverty

By Pete Madeley | News | Published:

More than one in three youngsters across the Black Country are living below the poverty line, according to new figures.

Around 34 per cent of children in the Black Country are classed as living in poverty

A total of 94,212 children in the region's four boroughs are classed as living in poverty – around 34 per cent – prompting calls for ministers to urgently review cuts to child welfare.

The figures show that in Sandwell 36.5 per cent of youngsters were below the breadline, while in Walsall it was 36.21 per cent and 35.37 per cent of Wolverhampton children live in struggling households.

In Dudley the figure was 28.63 per cent.

Across parts of Staffordshire around one in eight children live below the poverty line.

The figures were sourced by the Liberal Democrats using Government data on family tax credits, benefits and household incomes.

Nick Machnik-Foster, a campaigner for the party in Wolverhampton, said it was concerning that so many families were living below the breadline.

"I fear these youngsters will end up stuck in the poverty trap for life if urgent action is not taken," he said, adding that he wanted to see a child poverty action plan put in place to tackle the issue.

The data also breaks down poverty levels by council ward.

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In St Peter's ward in Wolverhampton 35.23 per cent of youngsters were said to be in poverty.

The highest figures elsewhere in the region were: Soho and Victoria (Sandwell) 33.5 per cent; St Thomas's (Dudley) 30.26; and Palfrey (Walsall) 36.56.

Nationally new Government statistics show that 4.1 million children are now living in poverty compared with four million the previous year.

Labour says the figures have fueled concerns that benefit cuts and tax credits under the Conservative Government are seeing children hardest hit.

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Around one and a half million more under-18s are forecasted to live in households below the relative poverty line by 2022.

Labour MP Margaret Greenwood, the shadow work and pensions secretary, said: “These figures show that after eight years of Conservative austerity, Labour’s progress in tackling child poverty has been reversed with a shocking increase in the numbers of children living in poverty.

“No child should be forced to grow up in poverty. The next Labour government will make tackling child poverty an immediate priority.”

The Government says that the number of children living in 'absolute poverty' – which measures what people are living on in relation to a fixed median income in 2010/11 – has fallen.

“We know there is more to do to ensure that every child gets the very best chances in life," Minister for family support, housing and child maintenance, Kit Malthouse said.

Pete Madeley

By Pete Madeley
@P_Madeley_Star

Political Editor for the Express & Star. Responsible for local and national political stories, opinion, comment and analysis.

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