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Child poverty figures in South Hams are shocking say Lib Dems

January 29, 2018 9:16 AM

Children drawingSouth Hams Lib Dems are dismayed at shocking new figures that show more than a third of children are now growing up in poverty in some areas of the South Hams.

The new figures, released by the End Child Poverty coalition, show that 39% of children in Totnes Bridgetown are now living in poverty and across the whole Totnes parliamentary constituency the figure is 29.3% of children - or nearly three in ten.

"The disproportionate cost of housing in the South Hams is clearly impacting on families who are now struggling to make ends meet in areas that are magnets for wealthy second home buyers," said Lib Dem leader on South Hams District Council Keith Baldry.

"Three in ten children living in poverty - with more in some pockets of the South Hams - is a disgrace. Government cuts to benefits and cuts to public services are damaging people's lives and we don't see our Conservative-led council or our Conservative MP demanding change. We're proud to see the Pupil Premium - introduced by the Lib Dems while in government - is making a difference in schools in these areas, but we now need to see more from this Tory government."

Sam Royston, Chair of End Child Poverty and Director of Policy and Research at the Children's Society, said: "No family in modern Britain should be struggling to put food on the table, heat their homes and clothe their children. End Child Poverty is calling on the Chancellor to end the freeze on children's benefits, and to invest in interest free credit for low income families, to ensure that poverty doesn't result in spiralling debt."

Households are living in poverty if their household income (adjusted to account for household size) is less than 60% of the average. All poverty rates are calculated on an after housing costs basis. You can read more about the report here.

The freeze on child benefits is due to last until the end of the decade. As prices rise, low income families will find it increasingly hard to pay for the same basic essentials, says the End Child Poverty Coalition.