Newham’s high child poverty rates will ‘worsen’ warns charity

Community Links headquarters in Barking Road, Canning Town

Community Links headquarters in Barking Road, Canning Town - Credit: Archant

A young person’s charity has said child poverty will rise after a report revealed more than a third of the borough’s children are living in poverty.

Ben Robinson of Community Links, Canning Town, said he would “be very surprised if things [child poverty] did not get worse” in the coming months, especially with a cap in household benefit expected to take effect in the borough in January.

The head of policy’s comments followed new statistics out today in which Newham came fifth in a list of local authorities with the highest levels of child poverty anywhere in the UK.

Nearly 38 per cent of children in the borough are living on the breadline according to the End Child Poverty campaign.

Its report stated that a child is considered to be living in poverty if they live in a household with an income below 60 per cent of the UK’s average.

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Speaking about the figures, Mr Robinson said: “Low pay, spiralling housing costs, cuts to benefits, all of these have got worse.”

“We know housing is a leading cause of poverty in London.”

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The charity campaigner said Newham’s housing problems were particularly associated with private sector properties in the rental market, but people were also affected by cuts in Universal Credit and tax credits as well as low employment pay.

“In Newham, 44pc of people continue to be paid less than the minimum wage,” he said.

“Even if they are finding work we know it is not enough to lift them out of poverty.”

Mr Robinson went on to say that Community Links often saw people “in crisis” and had seen a rise in the number of people using its services.

He said: “The poverty manifests itself in different ways such as evictions for example.

“Everyone we are seeing has had that slow reduction or squeeze in living standards.”

He called on the government to look at benefit cuts, low pay and high housing costs which he described as the “root causes” of child poverty.

“These are the things that need to be tackled in child poverty going forward,” he said.

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