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Over 40% of children in the Rochdale borough live in poverty

Date published: 17 May 2019


Over 40% of children live in poverty in the Rochdale borough, according to new figures published by the End Child Poverty coalition.

By local authority, Rochdale (40%) has some of the most impoverished children in the UK with Oldham (40%) after housing costs behind Blackburn and Darwen (47%), Manchester (45%), Pendle (45%), Hyndburn (41%).

Households are living in poverty if their household income (adjusted to account for household size) is less than 60% of the average.

In the Rochdale constituency, an alarming 45% of children live in poverty, 14,198. Of the whole borough, the highest levels of children in poverty recorded were here, with more than half of children experiencing poverty recorded in three wards. 

At a local level, 57% of children in Central Rochdale ward live in poverty – the highest in the borough and the Rochdale constituency, closely followed by Milkstone & Deeplish, and Kingsway, both at 56%. Littleborough Lakeside is the lowest, with 27%.

In the Heywood and Middleton constituency, 35.5% of children are living in poverty. The area with the highest record was West Middleton (47%) and the lowest Norden, where just 23% of children are classed as living in poverty.

In response to the figures, MP Liz McInnes said: “It is appalling that more than a third of children in Heywood and Middleton are living in poverty. It is equally shocking that two-thirds of these children are growing up in a working family. Work should guarantee a route out of poverty, but this is no longer the case.

“I have raised the scandal of child poverty several times in Parliament, most recently to ask the Government for an urgent debate so we can discuss the action needed to tackle the problem. Sadly my request for a debate fell on deaf ears.

“These shocking figures about the reality of child poverty in Heywood and Middleton show that the Government simply must act.”

MP Tony Lloyd said: “The brutal reality is that child poverty changes young peoples’ lives, for the whole of their lives, and for the worse. We know that those lucky enough to be born in the most affluent parts of this rich country of ours will live longer, will earn more, be sick less often and will do better in school.

“That’s not the fair Britain that we want to live in and it’s not a fair Rochdale when 40% of children live in poverty.

“This week Jeremy Corbyn challenged the Prime Minister on child poverty. This is political because we have a Government which doesn’t want to reverse its tax cuts for the very rich which could pay to make Britain a fairer country and child poverty a thing of the past.”

Graham Whitham, Director of Greater Manchester Poverty Action (GMPA) said: “We know that Greater Manchester is home to some of the highest rates of poverty in the country. There is a huge appetite locally to address poverty and increasingly stakeholders from across the public, private and not-for-profit sectors are coming together to take action. 

“However, local efforts are hampered by cuts to the welfare system and public services. Central government must re-introduce a meaningful anti-poverty strategy, with reversals to cuts in benefits and reforms to Universal Credit central to that strategy.

“Child poverty is a scar on the nation and is damaging the lives on children and young people across Greater Manchester. It is time for action.” 

Anna Feuchtwang, Chair of End Child Poverty and Chief Executive of the National Children’s Bureau said: “We know what causes child poverty and we know how to end it.

“We know that the income of less well-off families has been hit by severe real-terms cuts in benefits and by higher housing costs. And we know that work does not guarantee a route out of poverty, with two thirds of child poverty occurring in working families.

“Yet in many areas growing up in poverty is not the exception it’s the rule with more children expected to get swept up in poverty in the coming years, with serious consequences for their life chances. Policymakers can no longer deny the depth of the problem or abandon entire areas to rampant poverty. The Government must respond with a credible child poverty reduction strategy.

“Even the Government’s own measures show that child poverty in the UK has been rising steadily since 2013 with measures of absolute child poverty showing a rise for the first time this year. This just isn’t right.

“Growing up in poverty means growing up trapped. It restricts a child’s chances of doing well at school, of living a healthy and happy life, and of finding secure employment. We urgently need Government to set a course of action that will free our children from the grip of poverty.”

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