OVER 25,000 CHILDREN IN LEICESTER LIVE IN POVERTY, WITH FAMILIES SET TO STRUGGLE THROUGH SECOND LOCKDOWN
3rd July, 2020
"Life in lockdown has already been extremely tough for families and their children, and it’s not right that it is the poorest who are being hit hardest."
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More than 25,600 children in coronavirus hotspot Leicester are living in poverty, with deprivation set to soar further as the city extends lockdown, Save the Children warns.
After a spike in new coronavirus cases, Leicester has been forced to stay in lockdown for two more weeks. The city is among the top 20% most deprived areas of the country, and children in Leicester are over four times more likely to be living in poverty than those in wealthier areas of the country. More than one in four (27%) of children in Leicester live in poverty before housing costs are taken into account.
Save the Children warns that without urgent action to help the poorest families through increases to the social security system, the high level of child poverty could rise, pushing families even further below the breadline.
Recent polling by Save the Children and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation found that families on Universal Credit and Child Tax Credit are struggling to afford food and utilities such as gas and electricity, with two thirds going into debt since the start of lockdown. With lockdown measures extended, families on low incomes will be forced to struggle for even longer.
Other coronavirus hotspots said to be at risk of local lockdowns include Bradford, Barnsley, Rochdale and Oldham, which have some of the highest rates of deprivation in England. Over 100,000 children in these areas are already living in poverty and could be at even greater risk if lockdowns are extended.
The charities are calling for a £20-a-week boost to the child element of Universal Credit and Child Tax Credit to help the poorest families. This would help keep up to 4 million families afloat and provide direct support for 8 million children across the UK.
Becca Lyon, Head of UK Poverty Campaigns at Save the Children, said:
“Life in lockdown has already been extremely tough for families and their children, and it’s not right that it is the poorest who are being hit hardest. Further local lockdowns mean families face several more weeks of being unable to go to work or send their children to school, resulting in even more time without an income. We need urgent action to support struggling families – a £20 a week increase will give families with children the lifeline they need to pull them through these difficult times.
“By taking action now, we can prevent increased child poverty from becoming a damaging legacy of this pandemic, which has already caused too much suffering.”
Notes to editors:
- Child poverty figures show the number and proportion of children living in relative poverty before housing costs and are taken from Department for Work and Pensions data on children in low income families by local authority, 2018/19. These are available on the DWP's Stat-Xplore online tool at https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/webapi/jsf/dataCatalogueExplorer.xhtml
- Data on area deprivation uses the Income Deprivation Affecting Children Index (IDACI), from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government's indices on multiple deprivation for 2019: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/english-indices-of-deprivation-2019
- Data on weekly Covid rates show the weekly rate of Covid-19 cases per 100,000 population tested are taken from Public Health England's latest data on Covid-19 rates by local authority, https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-covid-19-surveillance-reports
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