More than a third of Leeds children living in poverty as new figures reveal worrying upward trend
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The new figures show that since 2014/15, child poverty in the Yorkshire and Humber region has risen by six percentage points, the second biggest hike in the country.
The research estimates that over a third of children in Leeds are growing up in poverty - compared to one in five, in areas in the country with the lowest child poverty rates.
“Poverty can have a devastating effect on children lives. It can hold children back from attaining a good level of health or development, stop them doing well in school or reaching their potential when they start work," said, Rachel Walters, End Child Poverty Coalition Coordinator.
“As the cost-of-living crisis risks sweeping ever larger numbers of children into poverty, once appointed a new Chancellor must ramp up efforts to protect family incomes, so they can afford the basic necessities of life.”
In Leeds it is estimated that Leeds 35.9 per cent of children are currently living in poverty - or 54,273 babies children and young people.
Statistics confirms that over a third of a million children in Yorkshire and Humber are living in poverty after housing costs are factored in to government data.
Leeds city council, Executive Member for Adults and Children’s Social Care and Health Partnerships, Coun Fiona Venner said:
“While former government ministers are editing their leadership launch videos as they vie to be next Prime Minister, rising numbers of children in Leeds are facing poverty, hunger and hardship.
“In Leeds, we’ve retained our child poverty strategy and through that we are working innovatively alongside partners across the city to tackle the impact of poverty where children are supported to access healthy meals and activities in school holidays, employment support is offered to parents, or babies and school children who have no proper bed, are provided with a safe comfortable place to sleep.
“But as we’ve said before, we don’t control the levers to lift children out of poverty – so while we’ll continue to do our best as a council to alleviate its impacts, we need urgent action from central government to do that.
“For too long we’ve seen the Government opt to turn a blind eye to the devastating impact of child poverty. Now, as the cost of living crisis continues to grow, there’s not even a functioning government to take action – it’s clear their priorities lie elsewhere.
“The health and wellbeing of children and young people will continue to be made a priority in Leeds and we call on national government to do the same.”
For low income families, poverty can mean using food banks and parents skipping meals to feed their children, not being able to afford winter coats or school uniforms.