Figures reveal extent of child poverty in borough

By Ian Dipple Friday 22 February 2013 Updated: 22/02 10:04

CHILD poverty has fallen across Redditch but there is still a wide gap in living standards for youngsters in different parts of the borough.

There were 573 less children living in poverty last year compared with 2011 but the total still stands at 3,133 - 16 per cent of Redditch's child population and the joint highest in Worcestershire.

Child poverty is highest in the Greenlands Ward area with more children part of families living on unemployment benefits or less than 60 per cent of average household income, more than anywhere else in the county.

In total there are 585 or 24 per cent of children living in poverty in the ward - which includes Woodrow - compared to 718 in 2011.

After Greenlands is Batchley (492 or 23 per cent), Church Hill (367 or 20 per cent), Lodge Park (290 or 20 per cent) and Matchborough (276 or 19 per cent).

In contrast Astwood Bank and West Ward - which includes Webheath -have child poverty levels at five per cent or less. There are 71 children or six per cent living in poverty in Alvechuch, just 24 in Sambourne and 150 and 151 in Alcester and Studley respectively.

The long-term impact of children of growing up in poverty includes lower life expectancy, poor diet and they are more likely to leave school without qualifications.

The figures were revealed by the End Child Poverty Campaign which called on the Government and councils to protect people on low income families when making decisions about welfare spending, particularly changes to council tax and housing benefit.

Coun Bill Hartnett, leader of Redditch Borough Council, said they could not tackle the issue alone and chief executive Kevin Dicks was leading a campaign to adopt a more co-operative approach to tackling issues among various organisations.

He added the reintroduction of free swimming for under-16s and the apprenticeship campaign were small ways of helping and they were working with the Local Enterprise Partnerships and the economic development team to attract investment into the town to create better paid, highly skilled jobs.

"We should all take responsibility and do what we can, how we can and when we can to alleviate this situation."

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