LATEST figures show that more than a third of children in four areas in East Lancashire are living in poverty.

According to the Office of National Statistics, young people growing up in Blackburn with Darwen and Pendle (both 38 per cent) and Hyndburn and Burnley (33 per cent each) feature in the top 10 list of children growing up in low-income families.

Blackburn with Darwen and Pendle are joint second along with Middlesbrough - just one per cent behind Oldham.

Now, some senior politicians in East Lancashire fear for the futures of young people growing up in poverty and also in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

Kate Hollern, MP for Blackburn, said: “It is really concerning news and you worry especially about the impact Covid-19 is having on our young people.

“We know there are going to be huge job losses and I would call on the government to put some more quality investment into Blackburn to create jobs.

“We are also getting to the time when families are having to buy school uniforms and trying to feed young children.

“The government has got the capacity to help give funding to the North West as it has missed out. We need to make sure that the kids have bright futures instead of bleak ones.”

Blackburn with Darwen and Pendle having increased infection rates for coronavirus also raises concerns about the lives of young people there.

Deputy leader of Pendle Council Cllr David Whipp said: “It is quite clear that there is a link between areas of deprivation and the level of Covid-19 infections although it could be down to poor housing and overcrowding, which are among the issues affecting people in Pendle.

“It has long been the case that Pendle has a low-wage economy despite our best efforts to try to get increased skills and higher-paid jobs in Pendle."

Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson said: “We are heading for high unemployment and the risk of job losses from the pandemic.

“Unfortunately more children are at risk of suffering poverty. It is a concern that Pendle features in the figures so highly.”

Burnley MP Antony Higginbotham is calling for a levelling up across the country.

He said: “We need to make sure you get the same equal opportunities whether you are from Burnley or London and can change their lives.”

Hyndburn MP Sara Britcliffe said: “The figures are showing what we know, that there are areas in the North West that are very deprived.

“The government has promised a levelling up to pull people out of poverty and that is something I am really keen to see happening in Hyndburn and Haslingden."