Campaigners in the North East have renewed calls for action after new figures show that child poverty in the region remains shockingly high.

Data published by the Department for Work and Pensions indicates that almost 190,000 babies, children and young people, 35 per cent, across the region were living below the poverty line over the three years between 2019 and 2022, an increase of around 44,000 on a decade before.

Across the UK, 4.2 million, 29 per cent, of all children were living in poverty in 2021/22 according to the figures published today, up from 3.6 million a decade earlier.

Read more: 'I'm big on women supporting women': Why Darlington nail tech set up her own business

Chairperson of the North East Child Poverty Commission, Anna Turley, said: “We all want a North East in which every child growing up in this fantastic part of the world can thrive and achieve their potential.

“All the evidence tells us that we will not improve opportunities and reduce inequalities for children here in the North East unless we tackle shockingly high rates of child poverty, which are holding far too many young people and our region back.

“We also know that child poverty in the North East is not inevitable with the right policy responses and long-term investment in place.”

Nationally, the new figures show that 44 per cent of children in lone parent families and 36 per cent of children living in families where someone has a disability are growing up in poverty.

Ms Turley said: “These new figures must act as a wake-up call to Government that the time for sticking plaster measures and crisis responses to hardship is long over.

“Children and young people across the North East urgently need a long-term, joined up national plan to prevent and significantly reduce child poverty, and they don’t have time to wait.”

The North East has the UK’s highest proportion of children living in lone parent families, and the joint highest rate of children living in families where someone has a disability, alongside Wales.

Based on all of the Government’s planned measures to date, child poverty is expected to rise further over the coming years.

Read more: 'So grateful': Band of music students from Darlington sixth form releases single

Durham City MP Mary Kelly Foy said: “The rising tide of child poverty continues to overwhelm our region under the Conservatives.

“Poverty is a catastrophe in our communities, it stalks too many children from cradle into the classroom, limiting their life chances and snuffing out their potential.

“Combatting this issue is a political choice- that’s why the last Labour Government chose to lift one million children out of poverty.

“By stark contrast the Conservatives choose to ignore this issue, proof if it was needed that the Tories are totally out of touch with the everyday challenges we face in the North East.”

A Government spokesperson said the latest figures reflect the country coming out of the pandemic and rising prices.

The spokesperson said: “We are committed to eradicating poverty and supporting those in need, and our actions have helped ensure there are nearly two million fewer people, including 400,000 fewer children, in absolute poverty than there were in 2009/10.

Read next:

Get more from The Northern Echo with a Premium Plus digital subscription from as little as only £1.50 a week. Click here

“These latest figures reflect the country coming out of the pandemic and accompanying rising prices, which we have since helped to address with record levels of support via cost of living payments to over eight million households, and plans to provide up to £1,350 of direct payments for the most vulnerable over this year and next.

“This is on top of the Household Support Fund, worth over £2 billion, which is helping those struggling with the cost of living with essential food and energy costs.

“To continue to protect families and households, next month benefits and pensions will rise by a record high of 10.1 per cent, the National Living Wage will receive its largest ever cash increase, and our Energy Price Guarantee will continue to hold down people’s energy bills.”