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Wednesday, 23 April 2014

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Children in Cumbria living below poverty line

One in five children in Carlisle lives below the poverty line.

Youngsters in other parts of Cumbria are also suffering.

These statistics have been released by charity Save the Children, which has just published a nationwide survey on the subject.

The poverty line is defined as houses where there is an income of less than £12 per day. This is the amount believed to be needed to meet bills and living expenses after housing costs have been paid.

The survey breaks up regions of the UK by parliamentary constituency and local authority area.

In the Carlisle parliamentary area, 20 per cent of children were reported as living in homes below the poverty line, the same as in Barrow and Furness.

Copeland was next with 18 per cent, followed by Workington with 17.

Penrith and the Border and Westmorland and Lonsdale did better on nine per cent and eight per cent respectively.

When Cumbria is broken into local authority areas the figures see Carlisle with 17 per cent.

This is behind Copeland and Barrow on 18 and 22 per cent respectively, but ahead of Allerdale, which has a 16 per cent figure, and Eden and South Lakeland, both with a rate of nine per cent.

The report says the recession has affected these figures in three ways; more children living in families where nobody works, a rise in the number of children living with a mixture of working and non-working adults and an increase in absolute poverty because of wages and benefits not keeping track with inflation.

It also states that its compilers heard regular reports of adults making sacrifices, such as going without meals, to help their children.

Rachael Rodway, a member Carlisle Food Bank’s steering committee, has heard of incidents like this locally.

“One of the stories that persuaded us to set the food bank up was parents giving up food for their children,” she said. She added that many receiving parcels of three days’ worth of food have said they will use it to feed their families.

The agency works at Salvation Army buildings in the city and people attending have to be referred on by other organisations.

But Ms Rodway thinks more people will be needing the food bank in the near future.

“There is another £18 billion worth of cuts to come, I don’t know how that’s going to affect people,” she commented.

“I suspect there are a lot of people in Carlisle who are just one payment away from needing us.”

The report can be found in full at www.savethechildren.org.uk.



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