Children in the North East are facing poverty on a ‘unprecedented scale and severity’ an MP has said following the a new report into the cost of living crisis.

A report published today by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) Child of the North, revealed children in the North are more likely to live in poverty than anywhere else in England.

South Shields Labour MP Emma Lewell-Buck, who is co-chair of the APPG said that for children in our region “the scale and severity of deprivation is now unprecedented.”

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“As the cost-of-living crisis worsens, vulnerable children and families, especially in the north, are being pushed to the edge,” she said.

“This report outlines the injustice of deprivation in our country and presents policy measures that, if implemented, could ensure that children in our region are never left hungry, cold or without.”

The Northern Echo: Emma Lewell-BuckEmma Lewell-Buck (Image: PARLIAMENT)

The report found that more than a third (34%) of children in the North, about 900,000, were living in poverty during the pandemic, compared to 28% in the rest of England.

In Middlesbrough and Newcastle Central, relative child poverty after housing costs has reached 45%, the report said.

Families in the north are more likely to be living in poor quality, damp homes. Before living costs started to rise, more than 98,500 homes in the north already had some form of damp and 1.1 million homes in the north failed ‘decent homes’ criteria.

It also found that one million households in the North were fuel poor before the current crisis, 15% of homes compared to 12% elsewhere.

Reacting to the report City of Durham Labour MP Mary Foy told The Echo: “Every week reports like this make crystal clear the damage tory cuts and neglect have inflicted on our region.  Children are having their life chances ravaged by rampant, corrosive poverty, and yet for thirteen years the Government have been missing in action on this vital issue.

The Northern Echo: Mary Kelly FoyMary Kelly Foy (Image: PARLIAMENT)

"They abandoned the last Labour Government's goal to end child poverty by 2020, and now we find ourselves in one of the richest countries in the world, with growing numbers of children living in cold houses or going to school hungry.

"In my constituency we are lucky that local organisations such as County Durham Clothing Bank, Ludworth Community Association, County Durham Foodbank and Sherburn Village Community Centre are able to provide support to families in need, but things cannot continue like this.

"We must ask ourselves, how many more children must have their education hampered, their health undermined, their future cut from underneath them, before this Government will support our region rather than sanction it.”

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Darlington MP Peter Gibson added: “As a member of the Child of the North APPG I welcome the publication of this report. I met Amanda Bailey, the Director of the North East Child Poverty Commission last week to discuss this important issue.

The Northern Echo: Peter GibsonPeter Gibson (Image: Sarah Caldecott)

“We know that there are two routes out of poverty, education and jobs.  We are delivering on this promise with more schools at an Outstanding or Good rating, we are delivering better education and more job opportunities locally.

“I have long championed energy efficiency in Northern homes as I raised in a recent Westminster Hall debate.

“Over 43 schemes for cost-of-living support are now in place to help at this time. The Holiday Food and Activities Scheme is providing fantastic support to families on Free Schools Meals, but there is always more work to do.”

Meanwhile Simon Clarke, Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland MP, said: “These figures on child poverty once again demonstrate the disparity of fortunes between different parts of the UK - with the North East once again faring the worst.

The Northern Echo: Simon ClarkeSimon Clarke (Image: PARLIAMENT)

"Certainly, nobody should be expected to put up with poor housing conditions and it is right that our local authorities identify those in need and take enforcement action against any landlords failing to meet the standards expected of them.

“No Government has done more for Teesside than this Conservative Government.

"It is absolutely crucial that we do everything we can to bring jobs and investment to Teesside and that is precisely why the Government has committed enormous investment in the Teesworks site and that's why the Government has created the Teesside Freeport.

"Creating high-quality, well-paid jobs is truly the key to changing the fortunes of our region.

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