New report finds 21.1% of Derbyshire Dales children living in poverty

editorial image

A national campaign coalition has called for action after new figures found more than a fifth of Derbyshire Dales children are growing up in poverty.

Nationwide data compiled by the End Child Poverty coalition and Loughborough University found that 21.1 per cent of children in the district are growing up in poverty, up 1.2 per cent since 2016-17.

That means 2,945 children in families struggling financially, according to the same measures used by the Office for National Statistics.

Coalition chairman Anna Feuchtwang said: “The Government’s own data shows that child poverty in the UK has been rising steadily in recent years. This just isn’t right.

“Growing up in poverty means growing up trapped. It limits a child’s chances of doing well at school, of a healthy and happy life, and of finding well paid work as adults.”

Thomas Lawson, of the charity Turn2Us, added: “If the Government is serious about fixing this they must respond with an ambitious strategy.”

In Derbyshire Dales, the child poverty rate is 10.3 per cent before housing costs are accounted for, down 0.3 per cent since 2016-17. Both before and after figures are the lowest of any Derbyshire district.

The highest local child poverty is in the wards of Masson, and Winster and South Darley, at 15.4 per cent before housing and 26.5 per cent after. In Ashbourne South, housing costs push the rate from 11.2 per cent to 27.8 per cent.

The highest housing-adjusted figure in the county is 32 per cent in Derby city. Other East Midlands areas see child poverty near 40 per cent.

A spokesman for Derbyshire Dales District Council said: “Our child poverty rates, on these figures, are the lowest in Derbyshire but nonetheless higher than we’d wish.

“The council’s top priorities are jobs and housing for local people, and we have supported local firms to create jobs and enabled the provision of new affordable housing.”

Families in the Derbyshire Dales can access help such as the Council Tax support scheme, homelessness and housing advice, a rent-in-advance scheme, and the council-funded Citizens’ Advice debt advice service.

The authority also offers discretionary housing benefit top-ups for vulnerable households, and is carrying out estate regeneration activity and energy efficiency work.

The coalition is calling for the Government to restore the link between benefits and inflation after a four-year freeze in benefits while the costs of living have risen.

It also wants reform of Universal Credit, an end to the two-child benefit limit, and reversal of cuts to services such as children’s mental health, education, and social care.

Anna said: “We know that work alone does not guarantee a route out of poverty, with two thirds of child poverty occurring in working families.

“Policymakers can no longer deny the depth of the problem or abandon entire areas to rising poverty.”

TUC Midlands regional secretary Lee Barron said: “Child poverty has been pushed up by cuts to family support and to real wages for nurses, teachers and other public workers.

“Working parents across the Midlands deserve better. They need a government that will make wage growth a higher priority and provide a proper safety net to keep all children out of poverty.”