More than one in three children in Bedford are living in poverty, shocking new research has revealed.
The study, carried out by Loughborough University, shows 35.6 per cent of youngsters living in the town are trapped in poverty, with scarcely enough money to eat after their families have paid their housing costs.
Children in North East Beds, which includes villages such as Bromham and Oakley, fare better, with a poverty rate of 23.1 per cent.
In mid Beds the overall percentage was 22.4, but Luton alone showed a massive 45.7 per cent of child poverty, making it the 7th worst town in the country.
Surprisingly, two thirds of poverty cases in every town occur in working families.
The figures were published this week by the End Child Poverty coalition.
They are calling for the government to set out an “ambitious and credible reduction strategy.
This should include restoring the link between benefits and inflation, reforming Universal Credit and ending the two-child limit on child allowances and tax credits.
Anna Feuchtwang, chairman of the End Child Poverty coalition, said: “The Government’s own data shows that child poverty in the UK has been rising steadily in recent years. This just isn’t right.”
She added: “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.
“We know what causes child poverty and we know how to end it. Yet in many areas growing up in poverty is not the exception it’s the rule with more children expected to get swept up in poverty in the coming years, with serious consequences for their life chances.”