Whichever one of the 12 districts in Kent you live in, Child Poverty has risen according to figures released by the End Child Poverty Campaign. When looked at over a period of six years from 2013 – 2019, the figures are quite alarming.
In Thanet, Swale and Folkestone & Hythe one in three children are living in poverty according to the End Child Poverty campaign.
NHS South East Kent CCG covers both Folkestone & Hythe District and Dover District, the average child poverty is 31% in 2019. When one translates that into a number which is understandable, that is 13,896 children or near to 1 in 3 children living in poverty. In 2013 that statistic was 1 in 5 children, so it is clear that poverty across the areas mentioned has grown.
At a ward level the statistics suggest even more startling concentrations of poverty. For example in Thanet’s Newington ward part of Ramsgate, more than half the children – 51% are living in poverty. That is a shocking statistic in 2019. In Swale Sherness East ward – 49% of children are living in poverty.
In Folkestone East now represented by the new elected Mayor, Cllr Jacqui Meade, the percentage of children living in poverty is – 43%. To put that into a meaningful number, that is 573 children, aged 0 – 18, out of 1368 who live in Folkestone East. Mayor Meade like Deputy Mayor, Cllr Ray Field, of Harbour Ward has 617 (42%) children aged 0- 18 living in child poverty out of a child population for the ward of 1470. Going off on a tangent briefly, in 2012, Cllr Field was dismissed by Eurotunnel who said he was guilty of gross misconduct.
What plans do they and their Labour Colleagues have to reverse these alarming trends? Are they prepared to share them with the people or will they concentrate on the many who are NOT in poverty and forget the few who are? The same question goes out to our District, and County Cllrs who represent these two wards, as well as our MP Damian Collins.
Child poverty comes with long-term costs, and reducing child poverty would produce long-term economic savings. The End Child Poverty campaign estimates that each child living below the poverty line cost around £10,861.42 annually.
Work does not provide a guaranteed route out of poverty in the UK. Two-thirds (67 per cent) of children growing up in poverty live in a family where at least one person works, according the Child Poverty Action Group.
Families across Kent and the UK experience poverty for many reasons, but its fundamental cause is not having enough money to cope with the circumstances in which they are living. A family might move into poverty because of a rise in living costs, a drop in earnings due to no work because of a zero hour contracts , divorce, benefit changes and/or other reasons.
Now the honeymoon and the ceremonies of office are over at Town level, it is time for all our Cllrs to get down to the hard work of improving our towns and villages for the children who live in them, regardless of colour, class or creed. However, we believe that for our new councillors, the reality of life in our parishes, towns and district will hit hard, especially when they realise they are actually impotent when it comes to changing child poverty.
The Shepwayvox Team
Journalism for the People NOT the Powerful