The release of the data by the DWP & HMRC for the number of children living in relative & absolute low income families (child poverty), have for the year end (31 March 2020) thrown up some surprising results.
The three areas which had the worst levels of children living in relative or absolute poverty in the Folkestone & Hythe District, Folkestone Central; Folkestone East & Folkestone Harbour have all seen numbers fall. Although only slight falls in numbers, but “every little helps” as they say.
(Definition: Relative low income is defined as a family in low income Before Housing Costs (BHC) in the reference year. A family must have claimed Child Benefit and at least one other household benefit (Universal Credit, tax credits or Housing Benefit) at any point in the year to be classed as low income in these statistics.)
What the stats show is children living in low income families in the more rural and generally affluent areas have seen small rises, with North Downs East & North Downs West seeing the largest increases. These can be considered the more affluent areas of the district.
The Cllrs for North Down East are Cllrs – Stuart Peall (Con), David Godfrey (Con) & Philip Martin (Con),
The Cllrs for North Downs West are Cllrs – Jenny Hollingsbee (Con) and Susan Carey (Con).
This would indicate that families who were just about managing have now tipped over the edge and fallen into poverty as classified by DWP & HMRC.
The stats released by the DWP & HMRC also show that absolute poverty has fallen for the first time in six years which is welcome news.
(Definition: Absolute low income is defined as a family in low income Before Housing Costs (BHC) in the reference year in comparison with incomes in financial year ending 2011. A family must have claimed Child Benefit and at least one other household benefit (Universal Credit, tax credits or Housing Benefit) at any point in the year to be classed as low income in these statistics.)
Again though the stats show that more families in the more affluent areas of Folkestone & Hythe District have been classified as living in absolute poverty and those in the more deprived areas have seen numbers fall.
As the figures only show one week of lockdown which began on the 23rd March 2020, this would not totally explain the rises and falls shown by the stats.
What we do suspect is the figures for 2021, due for release next year, will more likely than not show an increase across all wards of the district, as the stats will reflect lockdown proper.
The decline of families living in relative or absolute poverty in the poorest parts of the district is welcome.
The Shepway Vox Team
Dissent is NOT a Crime