Thousands of Leeds kids live in poverty

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A new report has underlined the scale of the poverty problems blighting the city of Leeds.

The Leeds City Council report shows that thousands of people are struggling to reap any reward from the booming economy of Yorkshire’s unofficial capital. Key statistics include:

*A total of 30,000 children in the city are living in poverty, with Burmantofts and Richmond Hill among the places worst affected;

*Nearly 40,000 households in Leeds are in the grip of fuel poverty;

*Around 6,700 lone parents are out of work and claiming benefits;

*Usage of food banks in Yorkshire and Humberside has soared by 61 per cent in the last year.

Council bosses have stressed, however, that every possible step is being taken to try to lift people out of lives of poverty.

Recent measures include helping more than 4,000 people into work through skills training and other programmes.

The local authority has also tried to lessen the misery that can be wrought by high-cost lenders by banning their websites from council-owned IT systems.

Coun Debra Coupar, executive member responsible for communities, said: “We cannot solve the challenges facing our communities alone, but we have a vital role in providing leadership to bring about change.

“We are working with individuals, families and communities to develop new ways of working rather than simply delivering services in the traditional manner.”

A child under 16 is classed as living in poverty if their family is in receipt of out-of-work benefits or tax credits and their overall income is less than 60 per cent of UK median earnings. People suffering fuel poverty have to grapple with low incomes and high energy costs.