Election candidates must prioritise tackling child poverty

Election candidates must prioritise tackling child poverty

21st November 2019

The North East Child Poverty Commission (NECPC) is calling on General Election candidates across the region to publicly pledge to tackle child poverty as a priority, using the hashtag #EndChildPovertyNE

Writing to candidates standing for election in every North East seat, the NECPC has highlighted the scale of child poverty both in the region and in their constituency – seeking would-be MPs’ commitment to work with the Commission to ensure the next Government puts developing a child poverty strategy at the top of its agenda.

Across the North East, 209,279 children were growing up poor in 2017/18 (the latest available figures) – of which the TUC has recently estimated 108,775 children come from households where at least one person works. 

The two constituencies in the region with the highest rates of child poverty remain Newcastle Central – where, at 48%, almost one in two children are growing up poor – and Middlesbrough, where 42% of children are living in poverty, equivalent to almost 13 in a classroom of 30. 

Of particular concern is that – of the 28 constituencies across the country where child poverty is estimated to have risen the fastest on the latest figures – six are in the North East

  • Berwick-upon-Tweed (up 8 percentage points)
  • Newcastle East (up 8 percentage points)
  • City of Durham (up 8 percentage points)
  • Hexham (up 7 percentage points)
  • North West Durham (up 6 percentage points)
  • Sedgefield (up 6 percentage points)

Jane Streather, Chair of the North East Child Poverty Commission, said:

‘As we approach 2020 – the year by which child poverty was once due to be ‘eradicated’ – this election provides a timely opportunity for candidates in our region to make clear that these figures are unacceptable, and to set out their commitment to do something about it.

‘The next Government must prioritise developing a strategy to tackle this growing problem, which should include supporting families and properly funding the services they use, urgently addressing low paid and precarious employment and immediately investing in a social security system that is fit for purpose and recognises the real cost of living.

‘We look forward to working with newly-elected MPs across the region to ensure this takes place.’

Tracy Shildrick, Professor of Inequalities at Newcastle University – which hosts the North East Child Poverty Commission – said:

‘The evidence shows just how damaging growing up in poverty can be for children, both during their childhood and throughout their later lives, and it’s imperative that the next Government addresses this issue with the urgency it requires.’

The North East Child Poverty Commission is a network of public, private and third sector organisations dedicated to building support for actions that improve the lives of children and young people living in poverty in the region. It is hosted by – but independent of – Newcastle University.


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