More than a fifth of children in working families are in poverty in Dagenham and Rainham, study shows

PUBLISHED: 07:00 20 May 2020 | UPDATED: 09:09 20 May 2020

A study has shown child poverty in the area is on the rise. Picture: PA/Brian Lawless

A study has shown child poverty in the area is on the rise. Picture: PA/Brian Lawless

PA Wire/PA Images

More than a fifth of children in working households in Dagenham and Rainham live in poverty, a study shows.

Anna Feuchtwang from End Child Poverty and the National Children�s Bureau. Picture: ECPAnna Feuchtwang from End Child Poverty and the National Children�s Bureau. Picture: ECP

A total of 21.5 per cent of youngsters were living in poverty in working families in the constituency in 2018-19, according to a report from End Child Poverty and Loughborough University.

This represents a rise of 6.9pc in comparison with 2014-15’s figures.

This puts the constituency ninth in a capital wide top 20 of constituencies seeing the steepest increases.

Bethnal Green and Bow saw the highest rise, to 29.7pc, an increase of 7.7pc on 2014-15’s figure.

The End Child Poverty coalition – a grouping of 70 UK charities, faith groups, unions and community organisations – urged the government to take seriously how the four year rise has pushed families “to breaking point”.

Its members fear the Covid-19 pandemic will push more families over the edge.

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Anna Feuchtwang, of End Child Poverty and the National Children’s Bureau, said: “We may all be experiencing the storm of coronavirus together, but we are not all in the same boat.

“The government’s data shows the extent to which over the past four years, children in low income families have been cut adrift and are already experiencing unacceptable hardship through cuts and freezes to the benefits system.

“Our country’s children are now at severe risk of being swept deeper into poverty as a result of the pandemic and lockdown.”

She urged the government to strengthen the social security system by immediately increasing household income for those least well-off, for example by increasing child benefit, and to put ending child poverty at the heart of its economic recovery plan.

A government spokesman said: “This government understands the challenges many are facing which is why we injected £6.5billion into the welfare system, including increasing universal credit and working tax credit by up to £1,040 a year, as well as rolling out income protection schemes, mortgage holidays and additional support for renters.

“We currently spend a record £95bn a year on our safety net welfare system and remain committed to supporting the most vulnerable in society throughout the current emergency and beyond.”

Loughborough’s study crunches government numbers tracking four years of child poverty across Britain before rent and mortgage costs.

That means it underestimates the relative significance of child poverty in London.

A 2019 End Child Poverty report found that child poverty in the UK is rising steadily. After falling between the late 1990s and about 2010, the trend is now upwards.

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