Hard-hitting study reveals more than 7,000 children in Ipswich are living in poverty
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Nearly 30% of children in Ipswich are growing up in poverty, a hard-hitting new report claims.
According to a national study carried out by the End Child Poverty coalition of charities, 7,022 youngsters in the town’s constituency are considered to be living below the breadline or in financial hardship.
The national research also ranks the areas with the lowest child poverty rates – compared with the rest of the nation Suffolk is not at either end of the scale, occupying middle ground.
But what the statistics, retrieved in September 2017, do reveal is the scale of the issue in this region.
Almost 30% of children – 27.8% – are now considered to be living in poverty in the town, and across Suffolk, 33,064 youngsters are said to be affected.
A child is said to be in poverty if they are in a family living on less than 60% of median household income. According to the latest official statistics, that figure – after housing costs - was around £248 per week.
Ipswich MP Sandy Martin said he is not surprised by the findings.
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He added: “It is not a surprising figure for Ipswich, but it is an indication of the low wages that so many families are earning.
“The attitude and behaviour of the county council is not helping the issue, especially with them closing children’s centres and facilities relied on by the most vulnerable families.
“It is about time that the government and the county council started taking child poverty seriously.”
Stephen Singleton, chief executive of the Suffolk Community Foundation, said the findings were in line with statistics published in the latest Hidden Needs report back in 2016.
He added: “From this data across the districts there is an average of 20% which fits in with the Hidden Needs research from 2015.
“It is horrific that this many children are living in poverty, and I think there are two areas that are really pertinent.
“There is a large demand for food banks in the county and a lot of the families relying on them have two working parents.
“An issue like that really shows that even if you work, you can be in poverty and that kind of financial deprivation has a knock-on effect in early life.
Mr Singleton said: “The second thing is that 33% of children in Suffolk are eligible for free school meals, and that shows how financial hardship can have a big impact on children’s lives.
“In our Hidden Needs report we found only 33% of children eligible for free school meals attained five good grades at GCSE, compared with 70% of pupils overall.”
For an interactive map showing the scale of the issue nationwide, visit the End Child Poverty website.