More than one third of Ipswich children, more than 10,000, are now living in poverty, according to research carried out by a leading university.
In all, 10,036 children and young people, or 37%, are affected. The research was carried out by Loughborough University on behalf of the End Child Poverty Action Coalition.
It uses data from 2020/21 and drawn from the government’s own statistics. In 2015, the figures were 7,769, and 29%, respectively.
For many families, this means using food banks or parents skipping meals to feed their children. Many are not able to afford winter coats or school uniforms, and all will suffer from the mental worry that comes when you are not able to pay your bills.
The End Child Poverty Coalition says that, if the government truly wants to ‘level up’ the country and begin to tackle child poverty, MPs must find ways to social security more adequate in the long term, so every family can afford the essentials.
Families unable to afford the basics for their children
In particular, the coalition wants universal credit payments deductions reduced and the benefit cap abolished, improved access to free or affordable childcare, and free school meals in England and Wales extended to all children in families receiving universal credit.
Rachel Walters, End Child Poverty Coalition co-ordinator says:“Child poverty isn’t inevitable. The government can make changes to ensure that families are able to afford the basics for their children.
“We need urgent decisive action to ensure that next year we aren’t reporting exactly the same figures. All children in Ipswich, and across the UK, deserve to live free of poverty and to have the same chances as their peers.”
Jack Abbott is a long-time campaigner on children’s rights and is now also Labour’s prospective parliamentary candidate for Ipswich. He says:
“It’s obscene that 10,000 children in Ipswich are now living in poverty, a consequence of severe Conservative cuts, stagnant wages and spiralling bills.
“There has got to be far better upfront support for families. For example, expanding free school meals to all children from families receiving universal credit could be enacted immediately and would ensure that they won’t go hungry.
“However, with another overwhelming hike in energy bills on the horizon, the government must get to grips with the root causes of poverty itself. They have urgently got to insulate homes and help get households off gas, otherwise this will be a devastating winter for many people.”