Child poverty rises by 11% in North East

Written by on 7th December 2021

Credit: Russell Hart/Alamy Stock Photo

There has been a shocking rise of child poverty in the North East, the second-highest rate nationally, just behind London.

This represents the UK’s biggest increase in child poverty in five years from 2014/2015 to 2019/2020, a rise from 26% to 37%.

The majority of children growing up in poverty in the North East are from working households, where parents are unable to get enough regular hours.

Amanda Bailey, Director of the North East Child Poverty Commission, said: “The overwhelming majority of children growing up in poverty are from working families.”

Precarious work and low pay are the main factors in this, with many parents not earning enough to keep their children above the poverty line.

Bailey said: “Their parents are not earning enough to keep them above the poverty line, they may not be able to get enough hours or regular hours.”

There is evidence of the lifelong, damaging and stigmatising effects of child poverty, from infant mortality rates and physical and mental health to employment and educational outcomes.

According to the latest available data, Sunderland has one of the highest rates of child poverty in the region, standing at an estimated 37.6%.

This shows a rise of more than 10% from 27.4% in 2014/2015, the tenth steepest of any local authority area nationally.

Other factors also contribute to this trend, as England is the only part of the United Kingdom without a child poverty strategy.

Lack of national strategy is said to be a factor. Bailey said: “When we did have one, the North East actually saw the steepest decrease in child poverty.”

She added: “This demonstrates that if you want to reduce child poverty you can do, but it just requires political will and joined-up thinking.”

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