Survey reveals kids poverty problem

SOME children in Suffolk are going without essentials such as warm clothes and food, it has been revealed.

SUFFOLK: Children in the county are going without essentials such as warm clothes and food, it has been revealed.

A survey by Save the Children showed almost 100,000 children in the east of England are living in severe poverty, without a winter coat, a bed or other day-to-day essentials.

Fergus Drake, director of UK programmes for the charity, said: “It's shocking at a time when the country was experiencing unprecedented levels of wealth, the number of children living in severe poverty actually increased.”

The figures, published this week, showed an extra 260,000 children fell into severe poverty between 2004 to 2008, pushing the national figure to 1.7 million.

Severe poverty is described as families living on less than �12,220 a year, leaving them unable to afford basics such as food, electricity, washing, and healthcare.

Cliff James, head of safeguarding at Suffolk County Council, said there are still pockets in Suffolk where poverty still exists.

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“In this day and age, children should be warm, should have food and clothing to meet their needs,” he said. “There is no reason why that shouldn't be the case but there are occasions where it does happen.”

Mr James said areas such as Lowestoft and parts of Ipswich still suffer from economic and social problems such as drink and drug addictions, where money is spent on other items other than basic essentials.

Mr James added the recent rise in unemployment, house repossessions and debt levels during the recession could also have put families under increased financial pressure.

“There is a risk of children being neglected,” he said. “I don't doubt there are some families under huge pressure because of debt-related issues. Every penny spent on re-paying a debt is not being spent on the family.”

But Mr James said advice on benefits, free school meals and emergency help is available from the county council as well as Citizens Advice Bureaus.

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