It has been revealed that Ipswich has suffered the East of England’s largest rise in child poverty with a near 40% rise since 2015.
According to statistics released by the Government, Ipswich reported a 39% rise in child poverty between 2014/15 – 2019/20. Neighbouring districts all saw rises with Babergh seeing a 23% rise, East Suffolk 26%, Mid Suffolk 14% and West Suffolk 21%. Suffolk saw a 27% increase overall with another 6,000 children falling into relative poverty over the past five years.
It means that more than 28,000 children in Suffolk now live in relative poverty before housing costs, although previous analysis done by End Child Poverty estimate that this figure is around 50,000 when housing costs are factored in.
Last summer, Labour successfully passed a motion to tackle food poverty in Suffolk and commits to tackling the causes of poverty in its manifesto. In contrast, the word ‘poverty’ doesn’t appear in the Conservative manifesto once.
Cllr Jack Abbott, the Opposition Spokesperson for Children’s Services and Education at Suffolk County Council, said: “Nothing encapsulates the record of the Conservatives more than the huge increase of child poverty in Suffolk.
“Ipswich has seen the largest surge in child poverty in the East of England and Suffolk as a whole has seen a 27% rise. When including housing costs, there were an estimated 50,000 children living in poverty before the pandemic – that figure is likely to be much higher now.
“Over the last year alone, the Government has dragged its feet around feeding hungry children, getting laptops to pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds and offering a small rise to people on Universal Credit. Locally, families have been hit repeatedly by the Conservatives at Suffolk County Council, with cuts to children’s centres and health visitors, and a school bus ticket hike to nearly £1,000 a year.
“However, despite the significant rise in child poverty on their watch, the Suffolk Conservatives’ manifesto doesn’t even mention the word ‘poverty’ once whereas Labour have put it front and centre. It speaks volumes.”
The new figures show that child poverty was at a record high before the pandemic hit, with 4.3 million children in Britain living in poverty.
Labour analysis has shown that three quarters of children in poverty are in a working household. The Party have warned that Conservative plans to cut Universal Credit by £20 a week will further exacerbate the hardship facing families. Labour have called for the £20 uplift to remain until a fairer social security system can be put in place.
Jonathan Reynolds MP, Labour’s Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, said
“Thousands of children going without the basics in Suffolk is simply not acceptable in modern Britain.”
“The Conservatives’ answer to hundreds of thousands of working households living below the poverty line is a triple hammer blow of Universal Credit cuts, Council Tax rises and public sector pay freezes.”
“Labour would secure our economy, tackle the jobs crisis and replace Universal Credit with a fair and compassionate system that offers security to all.”