03:00PM, Friday 16 February 2018
Thousands of children in the Royal Borough are still living in poverty and figures show that number is on the rise.
Figures released by End Child Poverty (ECP), a coalition committed to ending child poverty, show 2,965 children living in poverty in Maidenhead or 13.6 per cent as of January this year, for Windsor the figure was slightly less at 2,934 or 13.7 per cent.
Despite being one of the lowest in the country, for Maidenhead it marks a rise of 0.4 per cent since the figures were last published in December 2015.
According to ECP child is said to live in poverty if they are in a family living on less than 60 per cent of median household income.
While the latest official statistics put 60 per cent of median income (after housing costs) at around £248 per week.
Cabinet member for children's services, councillor Natasha Airey (Cons, Park) recognised that over the last few years with benefits frozen and wage growth in the country being slow while inflation has risen has pushed people who may have been just about managing below the poverty line.
However she added that while the Royal Borough doesn’t have a specific strategy to tackle child poverty as it crosses across multiple departments like housing, health and education, in future it maybe worth putting a document together that highlight all the things being done.
“I’m passionate about young people’s opportunities and aspirations not being dictated by where they grow up.
“We don’t want anyone to be in child poverty and in this country in the 21st century there is no reason why any should”, added Cllr Airey
She pointed to a number of schemes aimed at identifying and helping those in need like the Intensive Family Support program, which has seen a rise in the number of users over the last few years from 140 to 600.
ECP has called for a freeze on child benefits and free credit for low income families.
Cllr Airey said: “For the borough these things are set nationally but if we’re finding residents struggling with a particular issue or benefit then it is something we can raise with ministers, and look at other ways we can help.”
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