Ipswich has been shown to have one of the highest levels of the worst kind of poverty in the UK in a new report.

The latest ‘Destitution in the UK’ publication placed Ipswich in the top quarter of local authorities affected by destitution, the most severe form of hardship, in 2022.

The town was ranked 76th in the 360 authorities in the expected destitution levels list from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation charity.

Destitution is defined as when most basic needs are not being met, such as staying dry, warm, clean, and fed, which has a “deep and profound impacts on people’s health, mental health and prospects”.

High levels of destitution also puts a strain on "already overstretched services".

The figures considered the number of people using crisis services and interviews, along with representative sample numbers.

The report spoke of the link between families and poverty, finding that families with children are significantly affected by destitution.

It found that one million children were affected by destitution during 2022 in the UK, an 88% increase since 2019.

Tara Spence, CEO of the Home-Start Suffolk charity, said the placement of the town in the report is linked to the "relatively young age demographic", with a high number of births.

Ms Spence said: "The town has a relatively young age demographic, the number of births and therefore families in the borough are greater than in other areas, which tends to add to the placement of Ipswich in the Joseph Rowntree Foundation report.

"Increased social and lower-cost housing and lower salaries across the county add to the challenges and the external views of affluence in some areas tends to hide the true picture of deprivation."

Ms Spence added that the findings were unsurprising. She said: “Home-Start in Suffolk has regularly highlighted the many challenges faced by families; low incomes, difficulties in accessing benefits; confusion and difficulty accessing what can be challenging statutory systems; the cost of rent; food and fuel poverty continue to be issues faced by local families.

“Whilst Ipswich has a strong community feel in parts, we also know that many families can feel extremely isolated, with limited support. We often hear families telling us they have given up any hope of their situation ever improving.

“I think when we hear about the financial challenges being faced by families we tend not to really consider the extent of those challenges; we're not talking about not being able to have the money for a streaming service or the latest trainer, we are talking about people going for days without a meal, not putting on the heating for days in the coldest weather, people who wake in the early hours worrying about how to get through the next day.

“This report doesn't tell us anything new, but it does once again highlight the message that people are genuinely struggling, and this time we must make a real commitment to ensure that Ipswich or any other area in Suffolk never makes it onto a list like this ever again.

“Many charities I talk to, as well as Home-Start in Suffolk are concerned not only with the challenges facing families but also their own ability to continue providing services to people in need, due to reductions in income, less availability of volunteers and staff recruitment challenges with the sector not able to compete with statutory and corporate salaries and increasing costs.

“If we are to support the people most in need, we need to ensure we have a well-resourced VCFSE sector that is able to respond to the needs of people, helping them to make and see a future for themselves.”