One-in-three children in Rotherham "living in poverty"

ALMOST one in three children in Rotherham is living in poverty, according to a new report.

End Child Poverty said 17,960 (30.4 per cent) of children in the local authority area were living below the breadline

Tax credit data and national trends in worklessness were used to estimate the number of children in poverty because their parents have lost their jobs, with the findings broken down into parliamentary constituencies.

There were 8,699 (39.3 per cent) children classed as living in poverty in Rotherham, 6,175 (28.4 per cent) in Wentworth and Dearne and 4,811 (23.5 per cent) in the Rother Valley.

Labour MPs blamed Tory cuts and backed calls from End Child Poverty -a campaign group made up of children’s charities, child welfare organisations, social justice groups, faith groups and trade unions - for the Government to end the freeze on children’s benefits, which includes child benefit, child tax credit and the child element of Universal Credit.

Rotherham MP Sarah Champion (pictured) said she was “appalled but not surprised” at the figures.

She said: “The child poverty crisis in the UK is growing and some of the most deprived areas have seen these figures increase by more than ten percentage points since 2015.

“Research by The Children’s Society and Step Change found that ten per cent of families have taken out credit to buy food for their children.

“The last Labour government committed to ending child poverty by 2020. 

“We were on target to achieve that but the Tories scrapped this commitment with devastating, and inevitable consequences.”

Wentworth and Dearne MP John Healey said: “Universal Credit is caust1ing real suffering in our area. 

“It needs to be transformed to make sure it reduces child poverty and helps people get work.”

Sir Kevin Barron, Rother Valley MP, said he would work with local agencies to tackle the issue in Rother Valley, while “pressuring the Government to move away from austerity, which is causing so much pain”.

In neighbouring local authorities, Sheffield had 35,820 children in poverty, Doncaster had 20,412 and Barnsley had the lowest with 14,182.

Rotherham Borough Council leader, Cllr Chris Read, said Tory decisions “were making families poorer”.

He said families were under huge pressure and children were going without essentials, adding: “That in turn places more pressure on public services.”

The council supported food banks and issued crisis loans to vulnerable families, Cllr Read said.

A government spokeswoman said: “The best route out of poverty is through employment, and since 2010 an extra three million more are now in work and 600,000 fewer children are living in workless households.”