SHOCK statistics released this week show that a third of children in Redditch – 6,822 – are living in poverty.
The figures, from the End Child Poverty coalition, puts the borough as the second worst case in Worcestershire after Wyre Forest on 34 per cent after housing costs like rent and mortgage are paid out.
And the coalition says child poverty is becoming the ‘new normal’ in parts of Britain.
According to the investigation, Central ward in Redditch has the highest proportion of children living in poverty.
The research estimates 582 children, or 42 per cent, living in the area are trapped in poverty with 1,220 (41 per cent) of youngsters in Greenlands also facing life below the breadline.
In response to the figures Redditch MP Rachel Maclean said: “I can assure you that eradicating child poverty is an absolute priority.
More than ever is being done to support children and I am delighted the latest figures show the proportion of children in workless households is at a record low.
“There is a welfare reform agenda aimed at improving the life chances of children in Redditch and across the country.
“Crucially, the introduction of the National Living Wage has meant a pay rise for 2.4 million workers and those previously on the minimum wage have seen their pay increase by over £2,750 since April 2016.”
Councillor Bill Hartnett, the leader of the borough’s Labour group said: “This report is truly shocking but unfortunately not surprising.
“It is in my opinion a result of this Government’s failed austerity policies which has seen the withdrawal and loss of safety nets which were in place to help prevent this from occurring.
“This has been compounded when you also consider the cuts and changes to welfare benefits.
“We have seen here in Redditch the reduction in children’s centres, the increase in food banks and Redditch council having its rate support grant cut year after year.”
Anna Feuchtwang, chair of the End Child Poverty coalition, said: “Growing up in poverty means growing up trapped. It restricts a child’s chances of doing well at school, of living a healthy and happy life, and of finding well paid work as adults.”
n View the research at www.endchildpoverty.org.uk/poverty-in-your-area-2019/ .