THE scale of child poverty across East Lancashire has been revealed.

Researchers from Loughborough University looked into child poverty rates around the UK between 1990s and now.

The data revealed the number of children in poverty fell steadily between the late 90s and 2010 when it began to fluctuate.

However, the trend from 2016 has been upwards.

In East Lancashire, Blackburn with Darwen has almost 20,000 children in the borough living in poverty - 46.9 per cent.

Nearby Hyndburn has 40 per cent of its child population - 8,307 - living in poverty.

The picture is similar in Burnley where there are 8,829 children living in poverty (40 per cent), while figures from Pendle show 10,293 children on the breadline (44.7 per cent).

Rossendale and Ribble Valley children are less affected, with 5,763 children (34.3 per cent) and 2,780 children (21.2 per cent) respectively.

And Ribble Valley is the only area in East Lancashire where the figure has fallen since 2016/17 (-0.3 per cent).

All other areas have seen increases ranging from 0.5 per cent in Burnley to 5.4 per cent in Pendle.

Pendle councillor Mohammed Iqbal said he has seen first hand the impact on poverty on children and families in the borough.

He said: “It’s very disappointing that the government is failing to address child poverty.

“I see it on a regular basis with children and families struggling to make ends meet because of government cuts to services.

“I am a governor at a high school and we hear about children often coming to school poorly dressed and underfed.

“It’s quite shocking, the level of it.

“Pendle Council’s budget has been cut drastically over the years and if it was up to me, we would step in and help but we can’t.

“A lot of people are too proud to speak out but they will tell you privately that they need help.

“Unfortunately the money is not there in the public sector for us to have an impact.”

Researchers said: “The income of less well-off families has been hit by severe real-terms cuts in benefit levels and by higher housing costs, while being constrained by limited opportunities to improve earnings from work. At least half a million more children are in relative poverty as a result, with two-thirds occurring in working families.

“The present national increase is projected to continue under the present policies, with rates set to reach record levels by the early 2020s. Children’s life chances in the worst-hit areas are set to diminish further.”

On the back of the research by Loughborough University, End Child Poverty is calling on the major political parties to create an ambitious child poverty-reduction strategy.

End Child Poverty is a coalition of charities, unions and religious groups with a common cause.