Nearly half of Newham families in poverty trap

Almost half of families are living in child poverty

Almost half of families are living in child poverty - Credit: Archant

Almost half of children living in Newham are growing up in poverty, according to figures which reveal that the borough has the second-highest level of deprivation in London.

The Campaign to End Child Poverty report, released today, rates the borough joint worst with Hackney as a hardship hotspot, with 41 per cent of youngsters living in poverty. Only Tower Hamlets is rated worse, with 49pc.

Adeola Osunbade, project manager of the Newham Foodbank, says the service feeds as many as 20 families a night.

“Even though we are lucky that we have free school meals in Newham, we are still seeing people who are working presenting food vouchers to the foodbank,” she said.

“When you have people on low incomes and all the bills arrive at the same time, they are having to make choices - do they pay the bills or do they feed the children?”

Geraldine Blake, chief executive of Canning Town charity Community Links, said: “These figures showing that Newham remains among the top areas for child poverty in the UK, despite being so close to so much wealth, are truly devastating,” she said.

“More than 50pc of the workforce here earns below the London Living wage and over 20pc are illegally employed on less than the minimum wage.”

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“Our own research into welfare reform earlier this year showed how, in some cases, parents go without food to allow their children to eat.”

A spokeswoman for Newham Council highlighted its efforts at tackling poverty which include providing free school meals to all primary school children and its Every Child a Musician programme.

“The borough has been dealt the biggest cuts of any local authority in the country, forcing one of the most deprived boroughs to save the most, while those least affected by the cuts have been wealthier boroughs,” she added.

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