A STUDY has revealed almost 18,000 children in the North-East with a parent working in the public sector are now living in poverty.

Analysis published by the TUC on Thursday shows the region has seen 4,000 more children fall into poverty since 2010, an increase of 37 per cent.

The research also claims that by April 2018, one in seven children in the UK in public sector working families will be living below the official poverty line as a result of the public sector pay cap, tax and benefit changes.

TUC regional secretary for the North-East Beth Farhart said: “The Government’s pay restrictions and in-work benefit cuts have caused needless hardship all over the UK.

“Public servants shouldn’t have to worry about feeding or clothing their kids, yet many are struggling to afford even the basics.

“Ministers must give nurses, teachers and other public sector workers the pay rise they have earned or more families will continue falling into poverty.”

The analysis claims an extra 150,000 children with at least one parent working in the public sector will be below the poverty line this April, an increase of 40 per cent since 2010.

Families where both parents work in the public sector are the biggest losers from the Government’s pay restrictions and benefit changes, says the union.

Their average household income will be down £83 each week in real terms by April 2018.

Households where one parent works in the public sector and another works in the private sector will lose on average £53 a week.

Separate TUC analysis shows that holding down public servants’ pay reduced spending power in the North-East region by £2.1bn since 2010.

The average North-East public sector worker today earns £2,323 less than if their pay had risen in line with inflation (CPI).

The Yorkshire and Humber region has seen a 41 per cent rise in the number of children in public sector families falling into poverty since 2010, bringing the total to 50,000.

The Government spends more than £90bn a year on working age people who are out of work or on a low income.

The Department for Work and Pensions has said independent pay review bodies are now examining each workforces’ needs and will report in spring.

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

“But we recognise that budgets are tight, which is why we have confirmed that the one per cent public sector pay cap will no longer apply, and we’ve doubled free childcare, worth £5,000 per child each year.”