More than 10,000 children living in poverty in Bedford

"The children affected are on a cliff edge, and the pandemic will only sweep them further into danger"
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More than 10,000 children are living in poverty in Bedford, new analysis has revealed.

And the End Child Poverty (ECP) coalition - which commissioned the report - said families were already on a "cliff edge" before the coronavirus pandemic.

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The research combined recent figures from the Department for Work and Pensions with local housing costs to produce new estimates for low-income families – those earning less than 60 per cent of the median income.

Analysis shows 10,448 children living in low-income families in Bedford in 2018-19Analysis shows 10,448 children living in low-income families in Bedford in 2018-19
Analysis shows 10,448 children living in low-income families in Bedford in 2018-19

The analysis shows 10,448 children living in low-income families in Bedford in 2018-19.

This means 29 per cent of all those aged 16 and under are living in poverty, though this was a decrease on 2014-15, when it was 29.7 per cent.

The report is based on DWP data from March, and estimates of the effect of housing costs on poverty rates by Loughborough University's Centre for Research in Social Policy.

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In Bedford, the number of children in low-income families rose from 9,832 in 2014-15, to 10,448 last year.

The coalition is calling on the Government to recognise the scale of the problem and its impact on children’s lives.

Thomas Lawson, chief executive at Turn2us, said: “In 2001, our Government set a target to end child poverty by 2020, yet here we are reporting once again that it is rising.

“Low wages, soaring rents and the stubbornly high cost of living is pulling families into poverty and drying up the opportunities of so many young people across the country – particularly in the East of England.

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“If the Government truly believes in compassion and justice, ministers must first admit the problem then fully commit to solving it. We are urging the Prime Minister to listen to our recommendations and include them in a comprehensive strategy to end child poverty once and for all.”

Anna Feuchtwang, chair of ECP, said: "The children affected are on a cliff edge, and the pandemic will only sweep them further into danger.

"An ambitious plan to put this shameful situation right would be transformational for millions of children."

A DWP spokesman said there are 100,000 fewer children in absolute poverty than in 2009-10, which is a measure against median income in 2011 rather than the current level.

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He added: "We have already taken significant steps to do this by raising the living wage, ending the benefit freeze and injecting more than £9.3 billion into the welfare system to help those in most need.”