A third of resort’s children live in poverty

Coun Ivan Taylor, chairman of the Council's Health and Wellbeing Board.
Coun Ivan Taylor, chairman of the Council's Health and Wellbeing Board.
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A THIRD of Blackpool’s children are living below the poverty line, according to charity figures.

The campaign End Child Poverty (ECP) has released figures showing 32 per cent of children in Blackpool South live in poverty.

ECP, which is made up of a number of children’s charities, found 5,932 children in the parliamentary constituency live in households earning less than 60 per cent of median income.

In Blackpool North and Cleveleys a quarter of children, a total of 4,275 youngsters, live below the poverty line.

By comparison, 12 per cent of children in Fylde live in poverty while Wyre and Preston North’s numbers put it in the top 25 constituencies for low child poverty, at just seven per cent.

Figures released by ECP last year looked at levels of child poverty in council boroughs, not parliamentary constituencies, and said 29 per cent of children in Blackpool lived in poverty.

Blackpool Council set up a strategy to tackle child poverty through the Blackpool Together Against Poverty forum last March.

Coun Ivan Taylor, chairman of the Council’s Health and Wellbeing Board and councillor for one of the town’s most deprived wards, Claremont, said there is no quick fix solution to problems but intends for children not to grow up to pass on poverty to the next generation.

He said: “We want to tackle some of the issues that stop people climbing out of poverty, like housing, employment and training.

“We want to get young people into work and give them more hope, creating apprenticeships is a major initiative we’re taking. The Health and Wellbeing strategy focusses on a whole range of issues - like mental health, drinking, smoking or drugs - that incapacitate people.”

Blackpool Council leader Coun Simon Blackburn added: “There is no quick fix but want we can do and what are doing is looking for ways to maximise families disposable income.

“Over the last 12 months we have launched the free breakfast scheme helping 12,000 children to have a healthy start to the day, introduced the living wage for council staff, agreed cheap bus fares for students and offered a collective energy switching scheme. All these measures help put a bit more money back in the pocket of hard working families who struggle to make ends meet.

“When we developed the new council tax reduction scheme we ensured there was a hardship scheme to help those really in need. Only last week a £200,000 pot of funding for youth project has been announced.

“The national changes to benefits are bound to cause a massive upheaval for our residents and will no doubt lead to even more hardship for those in need. We will be working with partners across the town to help guide people through the process and offer support.”

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