Tower Hamlets 'worst area for child poverty' claims map

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Media caption,

Hayley meets a family struggling with money problems.

A 'child poverty map' claims London borough Tower Hamlets is the worst area in the UK for child poverty.

More than half (52%) of children living there are in poverty, compared to the national average of one in five, claims the Campaign to End Child Poverty.

London boroughs Islington, Hackney, Westminster and Camden all feature in the top 10 list of areas worst affected.

The government says it is "tackling the root causes of poverty."

Children were classed as in poverty if their family's income fell below 60% of the average income of £25,000.

Bethnal Green and Bow was named as the worst parliamentary constituency for child poverty - while Prime Minster David Cameron's Witney constituency and Deputy Prime Minster Nick Clegg's Sheffield Hallam constituency made the top 20 lowest child poverty levels list.

Greater burden

A total of 89 constituencies already meet the government's headline target for 2020 by having child poverty rates of 10% or lower, the report said.

It warned tax and benefit changes outlined in the recent Autumn Statement showed the greater burden was being placed on society's poor, which "not only puts children's wellbeing at risk, it carries economic risks too."

The Institute for Fiscal Studies recently warned a couple with two children will be £1,250 a year worse off by 2015 as families "shoulder the burden of austerity".

At below 60% of the average income of £25,000, families struggle to meet basic needs like food, heating, transport, clothing, school equipment and trips.

The report used tax credit data to examine the proportion of children living in low income homes, also taking into account recent unemployment to estimate changes in the number of children falling into poverty because their parents have been made redundant.

Campaign executive director Alison Garnham said: "The child poverty map paints a stark picture of a socially segregated Britain where the life chances of millions of children are damaged by poverty and inequality.

"But it also gives us reason for hope. The child poverty target has already been met in the Prime Minister's constituency and nearly a hundred others, so never let it be said that the targets are impossible to meet. If we can do it in Witney today, we can do it in Hackney tomorrow."

'Tackling causes'

A government spokesman said: "We are supporting local authorities to tackle child poverty in Britain.

"We are tackling the root causes of poverty to break the cycle of deprivation for future generations.

"We also cutting fuel duty, freezing Council Tax, introducing the Pupil Premium, expanding free childcare for poor two-year-olds and cutting income tax for millions.

"Working-age benefits will go up by 5.2% in April and Universal Credit will see nearly 3 million households with a higher level of entitlement than present."

BBC Newsround wants to hear from children in families which have had to change their spending. Take part in the debate by clicking here.

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