Nearly 40% of children in Ipswich are living in poverty, study finds

Nearly 40% of children in Ipswich are living in poverty, a study has found. Pictured: Donations being sorted for a foodbank. 

Nearly 40% of children in Ipswich are living in poverty, a study has found. Pictured: Donations being sorted for a foodbank. - Credit: Archant

Nearly 40% of children in Ipswich are living in poverty a new study has shown, but Citizens Advice bosses say the true number is now likely much higher.

According to an analysis of government statistics by Loughborough University and the End Child Poverty coalition, 37.7% of children in Suffolk's county town were living in poverty in 2020/21. This equates to 8,348 youngsters.

The previous year's analysis found that 31.4% of children in the town were living in poverty.

Nicky Willshere, chief officer at Ipswich Citizen's Advice, said she believed the number did not reflect how bad child poverty in the town currently is.

She said: "It's on its way up and it is on its way up considerably higher. Since October – and especially since January –we've seen a massive increase in demand for charitable support."

Nicky Willshere, boss of Ipswich Citizens Advice

Nicky Willshere, boss of Ipswich Citizens Advice - Credit: LUCY TAYLOR

The centre received 650 requests for charitable support in June this year, compared to 319 in January.

Ms Willshere added: "When next year's data comes out I think it will be horrendous. My concern is that people aren't taking this seriously.

"We're not talking about just people on benefits, and this is where we've really got to crack the myth.

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"We're helping an awful lot of people who are in work. They are hard-working families who are getting hit even more every time they put fuel in the car to get to work.

"People are very good with their money – when you've only got a certain amount of it you make it goes as far as possible. And there's very little we are able to do by way of releasing any more money for them other than look at what charitable options there are out there. That's the harsh reality of it."

Rachel Walters, End Child Poverty coalition coordinator, said: “Child poverty isn’t inevitable, the government can make changes to ensure that families are able to afford the basics for their children.

"We need urgent decisive action to ensure that next year we aren’t reporting exactly the same figures. All children in Ipswich, and across the UK, deserve to live free of poverty and to have the same chances as their peers.”

In Waveney the study found 31% of children were living in poverty, while in South Suffolk, Suffolk Coastal and Central Suffolk and North Ipswich the figure is around 26%. In West Suffolk the rate was 22%.

If you're struggling, you can speak to your local Citizens Advice centre on 0800 0683131.