51,000 children dragged into poverty since 2015 in the North East, report shows

Around 51,000 more children have been pulled into poverty across the North East since 2014/15, according to research carried out by Loughborough University for the End Child Poverty coalition.

The analysis estimates that almost 190,000 – or 35% – of babies, children and young people across the region were living below the poverty line in 2021/22 after housing costs were taken into account. This is up from 26% in 2014/15, and is the steepest rise anywhere in the country over that period.

assorted clothes on black steel rack

Across the UK, 4.2 million children were living below the poverty line in 2021/22. This is 29% of all children across the country – the same rate nationally as in 2014/15.

Of the twenty parliamentary seats across the UK that have seen the biggest increases in child poverty since 2014/15, six are in the North East.

These include Middlesbrough (a 16.7% point increase since 2014/15 – the second highest in the country), Gateshead (12.4%), Redcar (12.2%), Sedgefield (12.2%, Darlington (11.4%) and Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland (11.3%).

Of the North East’s 29 Westminster constituencies, 21 have more than one in three children living below the poverty line – with the very highest rates being in Middlesbrough (49%), Newcastle Central (43%), South Shields (40%), Gateshead (39%) and Redcar (38%).

Almost seven in 10 children living in poverty in the region are from working households, and almost half of all children living in lone parent families in the North East are in poverty. Nearly 40% of children with a disability in the region are living below the poverty line.

Whilst Census data indicates the North East remains the least ethnically diverse part of England, almost two thirds of children from Black or minoritised ethnic communities in the region are estimated to be in poverty – the highest rate anywhere in the UK.

The figures are for the year ending March 2022, and therefore do not cover the period during which the cost of living crisis and soaring inflation for household essentials really took hold.

Chair of the North East Child Poverty Commission, Anna Turley, said: ‘It’s simply unacceptable that tens of thousands more children have been pulled into poverty across our region since 2015 – and these new figures don’t even account for the hardship being felt today by growing numbers of North East families as a result of the cost of living crisis, which is hitting those already on low incomes the very hardest.

‘The findings of this report are all the more shocking, because we know that poverty is not an unsolvable problem – including for children here in the North East, which should be the best place to grow up and raise a family.

‘In what remains one of the wealthiest countries in the world, it is absolutely within our gift to fix this and doing so should be the aim of any government. But this has to start with political determination, a joined-up plan which recognises the scale of the challenge we face, and the right long-term investment in children and families.’

Image: Gio Almonte


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