Norfolk's child poverty shame

Tara Greaves Campaigners are urging the government to step up its bid to end child poverty as new figures reveal more than half of youngsters in Yarmouth and part of Norwich are growing up in some of the poorest households in East Anglia.

Tara Greaves

Campaigners are urging the govern-ment to step up its bid to end child poverty as new figures reveal more than half of youngsters in Yarmouth and part of Norwich are growing up in some of the poorest households in East Anglia.

A grim league table of 174 constituencies in Britain shows 53pc of children in Yarmouth and 51pc in Norwich South are living on the brink of poverty - topped only by Peterborough and Luton in this region.

Now the Campaign to End Child Poverty is calling on people to back its bid to urge the government to Keep The Promise.


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Campaign chairman Martin Narey said: "Pockets of our country are in turmoil. These figures show us that there are millions more children than originally thought being failed by the system."

The figures are made up from child tax credit and working tax credit data and have been calculated by the Centre for Economic and Social Inclusion.

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It is the first time the number of children in struggling families has been calculated.

Charles Clarke, Labour MP for Norwich South, said: "The fight to end child poverty has been a dominant theme of this govern-ment's policies. There is still a long way to go, as Gordon Brown has acknowledged and as the figures for Norwich South demonstrate.

"However, I completely support the campaign which is waging war on ending child poverty."

The campaign staged a rally in Trafalgar Square in London, supported by singer Sophie Ellis Bextor, on Saturday where those in attendance called on the prime minister to keep the promise the Labour government made to halve child poverty by 2010.

Simon Wright, Liberal Democrat parliamentary spokesman for Norwich South, said: "It's shameful that so many children in Norwich are growing up in poverty.

"The poorest households in Norwich are being hit time and time again by rising food prices, heating and electricity bills, and the cost of petrol. Yet the poorest households have been hit at the same time by rising taxes.

"The poorest households are paying more of their income in tax than the richest. It simply isn't fair. The govern-ment needs to urgently look at ways of cutting tax for the poorest households, and make sure that tax credits are getting through to all families in need."

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