childpovertyThe balance of wealth within many UK cities is hugely imbalanced according to new End Child Poverty data which shows 47% of children in one constituency are living below the poverty line.

The data, collated by the charity coalition last year, suggests that nearly half of children in Manchester Central come from households earning less than 60% of median income. Over 40% of children in Belfast West, Glasgow North East, Birmingham Ladywood, London Bow, Liverpool Riverside and London Poplar are in the same position.

By contrast, in Sheffield Hallam, London Kenilworth, South Northamptonshire, Hull Haltemprice and Nottingham Rushcliffe fewer than 5% of children were in such households.

Enver Soloman, chairman of the End Child Poverty campaign, said the study found "gross levels of inequality".

"Far too many children whose parents are struggling to make a living are having to go hungry and miss out on the essentials of a decent childhood that all young people should be entitled to," added Mr Solomon.

"The government must also closely examine its current strategy for reducing poverty and consider what more it could do to ensure millions of children's lives are not blighted by the corrosive impact that poverty has on their daily existence.''

The researchers used local tax credit data and regional trends in worklessness to estimate the number of low income families in each area.

As estimates, the figures are not directly comparable with the most recent official figures for child poverty, published last June, which suggest 18% of households were below the line in 2010/11.

However, End Child Poverty say that while there overall estimate suggests this figure is nearer to 21%, the main issue is huge differences within some regions, pointing out that in London the figure for Bethnal Green & Bow is 42% but only 6% in Wimbledon.

The report concludes that being poor damages childhood and harms children's future prospects, with health professionals suggesting that "the effects of child poverty are worse than they have ever been and without action, will only get worse".

The campaign has written to local authorities with the most child poverty asking them what they plan to do about tackling child poverty locally, adding that they must begin to "prioritise low income families in the decisions they make about local welfare spending".

A spokeswoman for the Department of Work and Pensions said the government remained committed to eradicating child poverty by tackling its root causes and with welfare reforms aimed at improving the lives of some of the poorest families.

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Posted 20/02/2013 by richard.hook@pavpub.com