Thanet has highest rates in Kent of children living below the breadline

Child poverty rates in Thanet are the highest in Kent

Thanet still has the highest rates of child poverty in Kent – with almost a quarter of the isle’s youngsters deemed to be living below the breadline.

The data for 2018/19, compiled by Loughborough University on behalf of coalition End Child Poverty, says the figure stands at 24.7% – a hike of 4% since 2014 and 1% higher than last year .However, these figures are based on family income before housing costs. Last year there was also a breakdown of how families were impacted after housing costs – showing Thanet as having 35% of 16-year-olds and under living in poverty – but changes to the way data has been collected means no comparable figure has been published this year.

Data for those in poverty before housing costs shows more than 8,000 youngsters are living in families whose income is 60% below the median income – the indicator used for living in relative poverty.

Before Housing Costs  Child poverty in 2014/15 Child poverty in 2018/19 Percentage point increase
South East 10.8% 13.7% 2.9%
Dover 16.7% 21.4% 4.7%
Thanet 20.0% 24.7% 4.7%
Folkestone and Hythe 15.3% 19.7% 4.4%
Swale 14.8% 19.1% 4.3%
Medway 14.8% 18.8% 4.0%
Ashford 13.7% 17.4% 3.7%
Canterbury 12.5% 16.2% 3.7%
Gravesham 15.7% 19.3% 3.6%
Dartford 12.2% 15.5% 3.3%
Tunbridge Wells 8.3% 10.6% 2.3%
Sevenoaks 9.7% 11.9% 2.2%
Tonbridge and Malling 9.8% 11.6% 1.8%

Figures from the Department for Work and Pensions for children in ‘relative poverty’ households* shows Cliftonville West is the most affected area with more than double the number of struggling families with children compared to other wards, with 1,152 recorded. The next highest number is in Dane valley at 833 and then Ramsgate’s Eastcliff at 586.

The End Child Poverty coalition is calling on the Government to take seriously how the steady four-year rise in child poverty – predominantly in working families – has pushed people to breaking point. They want ministers to commit to an ambitious strategy to end child poverty in the aftermath of Coronavirus. which campaigners fear will only have deepened the problem and drawn more families below the poverty line.

A recent ONS analysis, carried out 17-27 April 2020, shows just under 1 in 4 adults (23%) said the coronavirus was affecting their household finances. The most common impact in this group was reduced income (70%), with nearly half saying they had used savings or borrowed to cover living costs.The coalition, working with researchers at Loughborough University, has published a new analysis of Government data that documents how child poverty rates in many different areas across Britain have swelled over the last four years, even before housing costs are taken into account.

Campaigners are fearful that the added impact of Covid-19 on household budgets could push struggling families over the edge and are urging the Government to immediately increase the amount of money in families’ pockets.

‘Action plan’

County councillor Karen Constantine said: “It’s extremely disappointing and worrying to see again that Thanet‘s children are the poorest in Kent. As a Ramsgate County Councillor I raise this issue frequently at Kent County Council.

“On one occasion a Conservative councillor spoke to me to say he hadn’t really believed what I’d been saying and had checked the statistics. He was shocked. I’m going to continue to request KCC to look much more closely and to identify a clear action plan to reverse this trend. We need a select committee formed to look at this in detail, to develop a clear plan to tackle this.

“We are now also seeing unemployment growing in our Thanet. I fear that Thanet’s child poverty is only to get worse. We need our County and national politicians to take urgent action. Let’s be in no  doubt that child poverty scars lives well into adulthood.”

‘Not all in the same boat’

Anna Feuchtwang, Chair of End Child Poverty and Chief Executive of the National Children’s Bureau, said: “We may all be experiencing the storm of Coronavirus together, but we are not all in the same boat. The government’s data shows the extent to which over the past four years, children in low income families have been cut adrift and are already experiencing unacceptable hardship through cuts and freezes to the benefits system.

“Our country’s children are now at severe risk of being swept deeper into poverty as a result of the pandemic and lockdown. This is why we are asking the government to strengthen the social security system which is there to hold us steady during tough times, by immediately increasing household income for those least well-off.”

The coalition is calling on the Government to set out an ambitious strategy to reverse the increases and make ending child poverty a priority for the nation’s future economic recovery.

Surge in poverty grant applications

Buttle UK, part of the End Child Poverty Coalition, is an organisation that provides Chances for Children grants to some of the most deprived families in the South East.

Their research says a staggering 41% of grant referrers anticipate working with even more families who need financial support as a direct result of the Covid-19 crisis. The impact is already being felt with a 76% increase in applications for grants in April alone, compared to figures for the previous year. Activities/ toys and laptops were the main items grants were being applied for by families in lockdown.

Buttle UK are fearful that the added impact of Covid-19 on household budgets could push struggling families over the edge and are urging the Government to prioritise these families in their plans.

Joseph Howes, CEO of Buttle UK, added: “Admidst the stress, uncertainty and pressure of the coronavirus pandemic, now more than ever, it is important to recognise that child poverty is rising in the South East.  The added impact of Coronavirus, in the South East and across the UK, has caused a national emergency.

“These families are at breaking point and further austerity measures will simply tip them over the edge.  Child poverty was here before the outbreak, and we need to make sure it is not forgotten about – or made worse – as recovery begins. ”

Beacon Road 326
Birchington North 72
Birchington South 220
Bradstowe 111
Central Harbour 445
Cliffsend and Pegwell 130
Cliftonville East 185
Cliftonville West 1,152
Dane Valley 833
Eastcliff 586
Garlinge 274
Kingsgate 46
Margate Central 539
Nethercourt 176
Newington 529
Northwood 448
St Peters 290
Salmestone 318
Sir Moses Montefiore 285
Thanet Villages 279
Viking 224
Westbrook 177
Westgate-on-Sea 329
Thanet 8,002

* The dataset is based on a ‘before housing cost’ (BHC) estimate of relative poverty. This measure takes no account of the effect on disposable income of some households having to pay a lot more in rent or mortgage payments than others.

12 Comments

  1. According to our MP there is no poverty in Thanet.

    Oh well, at least he got a £10 bonus for doing bugger all during COVID19

  2. Unfortunately, the desperately poor people in Thanet are outnumbered by the “reasonably, but a bit anxious and embittered, better-off” who like to pretend that there is no poverty or, if there is, it is all the fault of the victims.
    At the same time , many of the poorest are so worn out and demoralised they don’t bother voting as they have no hope of improvement.
    The result is that Thanet, which has some of the most deprived areas in the UK (not just in the South-east) regularly return two Tory MPs to Parliament. So things just get worse, as the statistics show.

  3. Surely our two MPs must speak up NOW about this shocking state of affairs which will blight the lives of Thanet youngsters for very many years to come

    • The MP’s do not care one iota about people living in slums with Landlords that do no repairs, with overcrowding in HMO’s and neither do TDC. They take the licensing money and do very little in return to stop conditions getting worse. That area is one of the worst in the UK for overcrowded conditions and people living in poverty with no hope of every getting out of it.

      • The most common reason for overcrowding is the tenants have chosen to do so, as a result the council class it as being tenant instigated and that its not in the public interest to do anything about it.
        The whole time the council does so little about the state of SOME rented accomodation there is little that dissuades landlords from providing it.
        Decent landlords can cherry pick the best tenants ( ie those who are going to pay the rent, behave responsibly and look after the property). In my experience such tenants even when wholly reliant on benefits manage perfectly well. But others with the same income have issues, money in itself is not the whole story.

  4. Any families struggling to buy food please phone OUR KITCHEN (isle of thanet) to receive healthy free food.

  5. ARTRA – Athelstan Road Tenants & Residents’ Association – has had a fantastic experience of Our Kitchen in Thanet – the organisation has held a number of events based in Resort Studios over the past few months – pre-pandemic – providing virtually free food to Cliftonville – highly recommended to anyone needing food locally.

  6. So despite Government promises, issues are still worsening year on year.
    The uncaring government is not listening at all and is making little attempts to improve the lives of those living in impoverished areas. This area of Thanet is forgotten.

  7. We are working together in Thanet to make sure no one goes hungry. We want to give all our children the best food we can.
    With support from Ramsgate Town Council, some of our Thanet County Councillors and the well established and new food banks all over Thanet (there are 18 outlets) we provide the food to fill nearly 2000 free food bags a week.
    This report must mean that there are individuals and families still struggling. We know that you would much rather go shopping and choose the food you buy but we hope that a bag filled with surprise food items helps.
    There will be a food bank in your area. If you are in need please ring the nearest and have a chat.

  8. You could easily argue that the only people to blame for the child poverty are the parents for knowingly bringing a child into the world Knowing full well they can’t afford to even feed their kids let alone clothe and house them.

    It’s all too easy to slate a government for a lot of things, but why are the parents breeding these poor children into poverty never at fault ? Why is it always the governments fault and not the parents responsibility to be able to care and pay for their own children?

    surely it’s time that parents became accountable for their actions rather than blaming the government. Having kids if you can’t afford them is socially irresponsible when there is already 4 billion too many people on the planet with billions already living in poverty.

    Rather than claiming it’s a persons human rights to have children even though they can’t afford them surely you could argue that it’s unethical and morally wrong to have a child that the tax payer is going to have to support financially.

  9. Ah! The deserving and undeserving poor!
    It appears that the unconcerned concerned still try to blame the poor for poverty.
    Granted there are some who are feckless and idle,but they fall into all classes,but being poor exacerbates the problem.If the PM was not from the wealthy elite, he too would be criticised for his nomadic personal relations.
    There are many reasons why people are poor and simply blaming them for having too many kids is both simplistic and in error.Unemployment,poor health,family breakdown,poor housing,high rents,precarious work patterns,lack of opportunity, poor mental health,addiction,etc,etc,etc; are just as important factors.
    One only needs to read the findings of the Seebohm Rowntree’s study into poverty in York in 1899, to see many of the same poverty factors, we see today.We have truly, seen it all before and learnt nothing.

    • Addiction, poor physical health, family breakdowns and in a lot of circumstances poor mental health are all self inflicted problems. No one has the courage to stand up and say it’s their fault, it’s always someone else fault.

      Blaming the government and claiming benefits for a lot of people is a lifestyle choice and a crutch to prop up poor life choices.

      For many, Blaming the government, schools and everyone else for self inflicted poverty is always the easiest option. In the meantime more people who can’t afford children are having more children pushing themselves into self inflicted poverty and the hard working tax payers are paying for the upbringing of other people’s children while making sacrifices themselves.

      People need to own their mistakes and stop blaming others for their own mistakes.

      The truth is sometimes painful.

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