How are more than 170,000 people living in Leeds in 2019 in absolute poverty?

Shock statistics reveal the extent of poverty in Leeds.
Shock statistics reveal the extent of poverty in Leeds.
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More than 170,000 people living in Leeds are living in poverty.

Figures reveal that numbers of people living in poverty, including children, as well as the number of people relying on foodbanks is also on the increase and the council admits it is a massive problem.

This graphy via Fastcharts shows the take up for school meals but also suggests the numbers of people on benefits is dropping.

This graphy via Fastcharts shows the take up for school meals but also suggests the numbers of people on benefits is dropping.

A ‘Poverty Fact Book’ published via the Leeds Observatory shows that Absolute Poverty is estimated to affect 149,000 people in Leeds after housing costs have been deducted from their income.

As part of the Yorkshire Evening Post's City Divided Series we take a closer look at some of the issues which contribute to social inequality.

In 2016/17, around 25, 710 children in Leeds were in poverty and 67 per cent of children in poverty were from a house-hold where at least one person was in work.

More recent figures from Leeds City Council reveal that 172, 000 people are living in relative poverty and that for the 2017/18 financial year, 27,000 people visited a foodbank which was a 27 per cent increase on 2014. Around 33,000 children in the city are believed to be living in poverty.

Read More: The shocking reality for one working mum forced to sofa surf with two children aged six and two.

Coun Salma Arif is the deputy executive member for children and families at Leeds City Council.

She said: “There is no doubt that since the cuts of £241m that we have lost in Leeds City Council, poverty has been a massive issue.

“There are more food banks opening up without a doubt and child poverty is on the increase. There is poverty where parents are working and that is a massive concern.

“I have also spoken to teachers that are feeding the more deprived children who are turning up (to school) hungry. That is on the rise.”

She added that Leeds was unique in that it had managed to keep open children’s centres with a particular focus on early years intervention and there were projects being put in place specifically to address issues from children being hungry to making friends.

Coun Arif, who represents the Gipton and Harehills ward said: “I still think Leeds is leading the way with Child Friendly Leeds, early years provision and councils from London are coming to talk to us about how we have managed to keep our children’s centres open.

“We have a project in Burmantofts that opens specifically on a morning for children to have breakfast and you will find in Harehills, because of the poverty, families can’t afford to take children to the theatre or the arena. Kids can’t go to Harewood, so we will bring things to them.

“We are working on an event where we close two main streets, have a party and let children have a massive roam around and play and neighbours get to know each other.”