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1-in-4 East Lancashire children stuck in poverty trap
ONE in four children in four East Lancashire constituencies live in poverty, according to a new study.
The data, collated for 2012, shows that 30 per cent of youngsters in Blackburn live in households on less than 60 per cent of the national median income compared to a UK average of 20.2 per cent.
In Burnley the figure is 28 per cent and Hyndburn and Pendle both have 23 per cent of youngsters below the poverty line, according to the End Child Poverty campaign.
In affluent Ribble Valley the figure is just eight per cent putting it in the lowest 20 Parliamentary constituencies in the country for the problem. Rossendale and Darwen has 18 per cent of children in poverty and Chorley 14 per cent.
Campaign chairman Enver Soloman said the study found “gross levels of inequality”.
Hyndburn Labour MP Graham Jones said: “We are not talking about poverty. We are talking about abject child poverty caused by poor badly-insulated housing and the rising cost of energy.
“I have recently asked all schools in my constituency about this and headteachers are telling me of hundreds of children turning up hungry and poorly-clothed.”
Blackburn with Darwen borough childrens’ services boss Maureen Bateson said: “Given the levels of deprivation in the borough these figures are not surprising but that does not mean we should not do all we can to tackle this issue.
“Government changes are making it harder for the council or parents to do anything. These figures show the scale of the challenge.” Burnley Liberal Democrat MP Gordon Birtwistle said: “We all know we have a serious problem with child poverty but we are tackling this in terms of a very successful home insulation drive in the town, the increase in personal tax allowances putting £300 a year in the pockets of working people and a new initiative being announced soon to provide free child care for those in need.”
Joe Cooney, Tory leader of Pendle Council, said: “Pendle is one of the 50 most deprived areas in the country and as such the area has more than its fair share of children living in poverty.
“We are working hard as a local authority to address this problem along with our partners.”