More than 9000 children in Thanet living below poverty line, says new report

Child Poverty report released today

New figures released today  (July 12) show Thanet has the fourth highest rates of child poverty in the southeast with an overall rate of 33.1% – equating to 9010 children – 0-15 year olds deemed to be living below the breadline.

Research carried out by Loughborough University for the End Child Poverty Coalition shows that despite a slight overall decline nationally North and South Thanet, along with Meon Valley and East Hampshire, all saw rises of between 3% and 4% compared to the 2019/20 figures.

Child poverty levels in North Thanet are 33% and South Thanet 34.2% in 2020/21, compared to 29.3% and 30.6% in 2019/20. The figures are for children living in households with below 60% median income after housing costs.

 Local authority % of children below 60% median income AHC 
Slough 35.1%
Crawley 33.7%
Southampton 33.3%
Thanet 33.1%
Hastings 32.7%
Gravesham 32.4%
Portsmouth 32.2%
Isle of Wight 31.5%
Havant 31.4%
Medway 30.7%
Dover 30.2%
Eastbourne 30.1%
Folkestone and Hythe 30.0%
Milton Keynes 29.8%
Swale 29.7%
Gosport 29.3%
Rother 29.0%
Adur 28.2%
Ashford 27.9%
Arun 27.9%

The data released by the Coalition covers a period from 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021 at which point families were in receipt of the £20 Universal Credit uplift, which experts say is the main reason why the numbers nationally slightly declined in this period.

The coalition says there is now significant fear that with the £20 removed, next year’s results for the year 2021/22 will see a further rise in child poverty levels, adding: “ Even with the government’s cost of living support package, some of the measures proposed were temporary and will only remedy the recent price hike in energy bills and rising prices. They do not respond to the real terms cuts families have experienced for years.”

‘Children going without’

The End Child Poverty Coalition believes the figures show child poverty rates remain alarmingly high in the UK and despite promises to ‘level up’ the country, there has been little progress on reducing suffering for children on the scale the country needs.

A spokesperson said: “Far too many children are still going without, struggling to concentrate at school if they’re hungry, missing out on nursery, school trips, and other opportunities that squeezed families can no longer afford. By age three, the average child from a low-income family is up to 17 months behind those from wealthier families.

“Former Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s financial package was welcome and showed ministers understood the impact of rising costs on families, but some of the measures are temporary and only remedy the recent price hike in energy bills and rising prices and do not respond to the real terms cuts families have experienced for years. A promised inflationary increase next year will be welcome, but the impact of rising inflation means there isn’t any significant additional income going to families.”

Easing the pressure

The End Child Poverty Coalition is calling on the UK government to continue to find ways of making social security more adequate in the long term so that every family can afford the essentials.

The Coalition says benefits should keep pace with inflation permanently, not just through one-off measures due to be implemented this autumn; for those on universal credit, deductions should be reduced, and the benefit cap abolished.; there needs to be improved access to free or affordable childcare and Free School Meals should be extended to all children in families receiving Universal Credit.

Charity Buttle UK says it has seen a 48% uplift in grant applications from families living in the South East over the last year.

‘Edge of a precipice’

Joseph Howes, Chair of the End Child Poverty Coalition & CEO of charity Buttle UK, said: “The additional £20 support from the Government during the COVID crisis does appear to have affected the figures positively in most areas. This shows that change is possible, these levels of child poverty do not have to be the norm. There will always be conflicting government priorities, but surely the wellbeing of the most vulnerable children in our society should be front and centre, particularly as we go through the most severe period of price rises for 40 years.

“The numbers may have gone down overall during the initial period of the COVID crisis, but it still feels like we are on the edge of a precipice. There is significant concern that they will now rise again sharply with families facing huge cost increases in the coming months. It remains incredibly worrying that at a moment like this there is nothing in the Government’s Levelling Up strategy on this issue. I just don’t understand this, we must see a national child poverty strategy created, it is heartbreaking that there isn’t one when we can see evidence that shows change really is possible.”

‘Parents can’t keep pace’

County Councillor Karen Constantine, who represents Ramsgate at the authority, says the cost of living crisis will mean poverty levels increasing.

She said: “Both nationally and locally we need our Government to take urgent action to stop the rise of child poverty and to reverse it. Child poverty isn’t inevitable it’s a political decision.

“Child poverty will continue to go as the cost of living crisis continues. We are seeing rising inflation, rising taxes, sky high food and fuel costs, and wages are not keeping pace with living costs at all. Thanet has low wages compared to other parts of Kent and benefits levels are at the lowest rates for 50 years.

“Parents can’t keep pace, even when they go without, as many do. We have created a perfect storm for the future.

“Coastal communities like ours are particularly vulnerable to poverty. We know that 1 in 5 residents have been struggling with fuel and food costs even before this current crisis. This is only going to get worse without government intervention.

“The impact of child poverty on children is severe and significant. Poor children become poor adults. Achieving less well at school, not securing better employment, as well as being less healthy and having poorer life expectancy.

“Child poverty isn’t inevitable, it’s a political choice. What we need now is urgent government action to stop and reverse child poverty.”

Calculations from Households Below Average Income statistics on the number and percentage of people living in low-income households for financial year 2019/20, via Department for Work and Pensions.

The media UK income after housing costs in 2020 was £28,600 per year. Below 60% median income would equal circa £17,000 or less.

61 Comments

  1. And yet thanet is a tory stronghold its disgraceful.

    The divine is getting big by the day. Just look at the house and pvt rent prices. Just look at how many high end cars are in thanet.

    Thanet is a perfect example of the tories rich get richer and the poor get poor. Divide the community.

    Pump millions into the art sector but ignore the housing and homelessness problems, run our NHS on fresh air, reduce our police force. But the art community with their pvt healthy, million pound houses and flash cars are doing well out of the Tories.

    It’s a National disgrace so many kids live below the poverty line.

    • This is all the usual nonsense that gets trotted out every year claiming that one third of children are living in poverty or living below the breadline or whatever the phrase or description that is used.

      It makes out that today’s society has not changed from Victorian England and that we have thousands of children in Thanet alone roaming the streets with no shoes, wearing rags, and carrying begging bowls for scraps of bread and scoops of soup or gruel.

      Furthermore – it is all blamed on the Tories. If it is the case that there are 9,000 children in Thanet that are living in poverty – why is it that all the parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles of all these poverty stricken children keep going out and voting the Tories into power ?

      Whilst there are children and families that struggle, I have not seen any that look underfed or dressed in rags . . . Unfortunately, struggling is all part of life. We cannot all be millionaires and nor can we have everything handed to us on a plate.

  2. 12 years of Tory rule. Craig Mackinlay you should hang your head in shame, you have let your constituents down. How much time and money have you wasted on attending your far-right wing ERG group? Money and time that should be spent putting food in the mouths of children, nothing is more important than feeding children. I won’t blame Thanet residents for rioting in the streets over this.

  3. Craig Mackinlay over to you…….

    Oh that’s right you voted against free school meals until you were backed into a corner, scum!

    How Craig and Roger get in here time after time is beyond me. Anyone voting for them ask yourselves what have they actually done that is positive for the area they represent. Or are they just lining there pockets along with there mates, while laughing at the fact that one of the poorest area’s in the UK is voting time and time again to make there lives harder. Unbelievable!

  4. I can disagree with very little of what has already been said, it is a disgrace. Sir Roger Gale MP for 37 (thirty seven years) YOU HAVE DONE NOTHING!!

  5. Devastated for the poor children but a lot of the blame must be attributed to the parents. Way too many families that really can’t afford it just keep having children. Yes parenthood is a right but unfortunately a lot of parents have kids without the ability to pay for their upkeep.

    No doubt I will be slated by the far left commentators on this site but parents must take at least some responsibility for their actions. It’s not the government’s fault that people on limited incomes are choosing to have 3,4,5 children. No wonder they are struggling financially. I really do believe that government does need to provide but so do the parents. The government shouldn’t have to be financially responsible for the entirety of a child’s life, the parents need to be able to contribute financially for their children.

    I will be vilified for my thoughts by the far left activist’s who regularly post on this site but at what stage do these people expect a parent to be responsible for their childrens welfare and upbringing? Surely even the far left activist’s on this site will admit that parents should at least shoulder some of the financial costs of being a parent.

    I realise a lot of people who are struggling financially are in work and these are the people I really feel sorry for but even some of them are choosing to have massive families that go beyond their income levels.

    Demonise me all you want but in my opinion you can’t blame the government for everything.

    • Here goes !

      Stop having children ? And who is going to do all the dirty, hard labour, minimum wage work for the country and Tories ?

      Lots of very hard working people live below the poverty line. In fact most parents do when the kids are young.

      My lad and his missus work well hard long hours, cant afford to buy a house cant afford to rent a house, cant afford to get married, cant afford children, cant afford the fuel to get to work.

      Yet we sit here watching the flash cars double parked in ramsgate seafront. They is shed loads of money in thanet that’s why the Tories keep getting in. They is no way of getting away from it. Most people only care about themselves and their families. It depends which type of family you are born into. Silver spoon or not silver spoon.

    • There’s still time for you to throw your cap into the ring for the PM hustings.

      Views like yours will go down a treat with the Tory back benches.

  6. This should go beyond political alliances.

    Decent minded human beings should be up jn arms over this abuse of children!

    It has to be considered that those voting Tories, knowing their policies leave children hungry, are partially responsible for a child’s hunger and this abuse.

    How does that equate to a good conscience?

  7. It’s funny how a lot of the parents can afford cigarettes alcohol, 55inch TVs, top of the range mobile phones and money for tattoos yet they are struggling to pay for food ,the mind boggles

    • Two user names, Jupiter and Penelope are obviously the same person, or you both wrote the same thing at the same time…..

  8. It’s funny how a lot of the parents can afford cigarettes alcohol, 55inch TVs, top of the range mobile phones and money for tattoos yet they are struggling to pay for food ,the mind boggles

    • This is a boring, lazy argument where poor people are stigmatised for having children. The truth is wages are not high enough because it is not in the interest of big businesses and corporations to pay well. The Tory government support and are propped up by said businesses and corporations. We need to get angry at the right people, those in control, those making massive profit and those deciding minimum wage.

      • Furious, it’s not a boring and lazy argument if there’s an element of truth in it. I’ve seen malnourished kids in disgusting dirty uniforms being dropped off at the bus stop by their young mums with perfectly made up faces, false eyelashes, professionally manicured nails and designer bags and iPhones looking like a footballers wife but their kids look like they could be extras be in the railway children. It’s not just the mums, I’ve seen the dads dropping kids off to school smoking joints and drinking alcohol at 9 in the morning. Unfortunately too many kids are being born into families that can’t support them either financially or mentally.

        At some stage parents need to take responsibility for their kids. If you are old enough to have a child you should be able to provide for a child. Go back 30 years and parenting was different. The parents virtually always put the child’s needs first, the parent was a parent and not a mate and the parents would go without so as their children didn’t have to.

        It’s not about stigmatising poor people, far from it but their is in a lot a cases an element in truth. Denying it happens is simply ludicrous

        • Urrrgh, I’m so tired of this classist argument being made, and seeing so many people who have actually experienced poverty whilst working multiple jobs have to constantly defend themselves (look at Jack Monroe on Twitter, who does is much more eloquently than me).

          Of course there are parents who are irresponsible, who make bad life choices, sponge off the state and who are not emotionally developed enough to have children. But the imbalance of wealth in this country and hungry children is not down to just those parents, its down to the system that we live in.

          Let’s stop throwing mud at each other and instead focus on the actual oppressors, those in charge that squander vast fortunes on dodgy Government contracts, who undercharge the VAT payable by their large corporate friends. A few quid in benefits lost on some irresponsible parents isn’t even a drop in the ocean to the billions and billions underpaid in tax by big business.

  9. When the candidates for PM mention tax cuts this is who will suffer when the inevitable expenditure cuts follow to fund those tax cuts.
    The words or word Foodbank were hardly in the lexicon of common phraseology before 2010, but it is now, and with a vengeance.
    This is the amount of food distributed by the Trussell trust since it started in 2005:
    In 2005 – Under 10,000 food parcels
    By 2012- 180,000 food parcels.
    By 2016- 1,100,000 food parcels.
    By 2020 – 1,900,000 food parcels.
    This is just one trust, there are many others and it has been growing exponentially.
    Those receiving parcels cannot all be inadequate or rogues, as some in this, HYS might allege.
    Thanet has problems over literacy, poor training opportunities, a lack of decent job opportunities, poor health, poor and inadequate housing, and most of all poor morale, not morality.
    Work is not paying sufficiently well, and the cost of living is not being addressed with sufficient vigour.
    What does Craig Mackinlay and Sir Roger Gale have to say on this? This is happening on their watch and they cannot blame Labour, Green policies, the EU or any of their favourite Aunt Sally’s brought forth to explain their failings.
    Perhaps it is so called ‘woke’ policies within their own govt causing all this,but I doubt if the public will agree.

  10. Where are the Trade Unions on this subject?….why aren’t the low paid, low skilled coming out on strike?….oh that’s right it because the Trade Unions are too busy ‘fighting’ for the rights of pay for the relatively well paid….Zero hour casual staff cannot afford to go on strike. …

  11. I think its unforgivable for Mr Mackinlay not to give comment in this article, is he hiding again? Like he hid when the rest of his party were contacting the 1922 Committee about their lack of confidence in Mr Johnson’s handling of the sexual abuse within the party. Maybe Mr Mackinlay is hiding in Mr Johnson’s fridge now he has less use of it.

  12. Once again phylis has nothing constructive to say.

    Unfortunately the far left on this site are once again shouting their angry vitriol and like so many far left bigots are unable to even listen to the other side of the story. There is politics and then their is hatred and a lot of the commentators on this site are firmly entrenched with hatred and nothing else.

    At some stage in your life you have to take responsibility and be accountable for your actions. The government has a role to play but it isn’t and shouldn’t be the sole provider.

    • Yep, plus a key point in the article is that the numbers are “deemed” so no real hard data just guesstimates and exptrapolation.
      I know of two people on benefits who used to work the magic number of hours , but lost their jobs in lockdown, the UC rules were relaxed re sanctions (quite sensibly at the time) but have not been reimposed. Neither has any intention of getting a job until forced to do so. They live quite happily thank you very much and their kids have good homes. All ostensibly paid for on benefits.
      Another example is a drug addict nearly 40 never worked a day in their life, gets the full range of benefits and social housing , as a result better off than others who work full time.
      No doubt there are those who do struggle but each case is different. The numbers in the article need justifying and some real research not convenient assumption.

      • So, that’s two benefit fiddles (neither of whom were children)
        That still leaves 8998 children living in poverty.
        But what do the experts know about anything. They should turn to LC for guidance, because (s)he’s done research.

        • It leaves 8997 “ deemed”to be in poverty purely from statistical analysis which means very little. If parents of children in poverty choose to smoke and drink ( or whatever else is their want) is it the state causing the childrens poverty ? How much money should you throw at people ? At which point would being on benefits ( in or out of work) be a lifestyle choice over supporting yourself? Without doubt there are those that are incapable of running their own lives and should be helped but we seem to cast a very wide net.

  13. Is this the “shape” of things to come?
    No matter which government will take over next … do they have a “magic wand”? They all seem to be suggesting amazing solutions!!
    I await with interest!!! 🙂

    • Alot of parents are low paid workers whose children are in child poverty figures. Those on zero contracts need to be on regular hours. Politics is about choice, vote Tory and get corporations tax cut or vote for parties that want less poverty and enforcement of the law to stop tax avoiding millionaire scroungers screwing us

  14. People worn down by poverty and, even worse, lack of hope tend not to make the best decisions. Much, much easier to think carefully about how many children you can support now and also how many you might be able to support if you lost your lousy job in the future when you have a steady income and something resembling ‘prospects’. And then there are questions like whether to make even more sacrifices in order to scrape together a deposit for rented accommodation or to buy a nice TV in instalments and zone out in front of it.
    There are so many factors that help to create a person who can plan, who can think long-term, who keeps hopeful despite non-stop set-backs. Not just money, but the example of others, for example.
    The working class is in trouble. Consumer goods can be within reach – even the homeless have mobile phones – but the important necessities such as decent housing and a consistently good diet are really difficult to get and to keep. Businesses want the little money they have and advertising concocts ingenious ways of obtaining it from them, from us, I should say.
    So yeah, there are plenty of working class people who are a royal pain in the backside and make lousy decisions, of course there are. But there are often objective reasons for that. Politicians, on the other hand, have no excuse.
    I’m from an impoverished background, I had malnutrition by the time I was 13, school meals were everything. Fortunately some influences in the family helped me believe in myself and in education just enough to give me a good future.

  15. It has been going on for many years, all over the country, no matter who is in control. Most of these comments point the finger at Craig Mackinley, and Sir Roger Gale. But, in all reality, was it any better when Steve Ladyman was Thanet Souths M.P.

    • I think it’s the government that dont give a toss about the working classes. As long as we just earn enough to pay our taxes when the well off try to avoid paying.

      Companies avoid paying taxes all the time. Manchester United not registered in the uk but the Carmen island to avoid paying tax and are being investigated by the HMRC.
      That’s just one big company avoiding paying tax, like lots of others. Where do the Tories funds come from ? Big companies.

  16. A fascinating debate ,but it’s so old-hat. The Right Wing HAVE to believe that poverty is the fault of the poor. Otherwise they would have to re-think their beliefs about the rich somehow working harder and being brighter than the others .So they “deserve” their wealth.
    Do the current ruling classes really work harder than the rest of us? Really!?
    They must be working 24 hours a day, seven days a week!!
    (I don’t think they do, do they?)
    It’s an old argument. I am old enough to remember the whinging about the working class being too well treated when Council Housing was being expanded. Apparently, the new tenants would be so slovenly they wouldn’t bother to wash as they would “keep the coal in the bath!”
    In fact , I’m sure that local letter writers would swear that they “know” people who openly get the coalmen to trek upstairs with the sacks just to put it all in the bath. Good things are “wasted” on the working-classes,you see.
    Later, when benefits were found to be totally inadequate to live on, the stories began to circulate that people were claiming grants for furniture and then using the money to buy super-duper TVs. You know, the old ones with doors that closed over the screen, looking like a cupboard. Cunning, these “scroungers” eh? And there would be people who would insist that they “know” neighbours who have done just that and even invited them in to watch “Listen with mother” before closing the cupboard doors.
    In each generation ,the ruling classes will come up with reasons to keep people poor.
    And they can usually rely on enough people to be too worn out to bother voting, with another slice of the working class too ready to blame the victims and to take the view that “I’m all right,Jack” and vote for more of the same.
    And to rely on the Labour Party to be too “scared of its own shadow ” to do much about it. So why vote for them?
    We seem to need a specific set of circumstances to begin to change things. We would need a radical Labour Party genuinely committed to change, not just talking about it. We would need just enough working-class people to feel enthused enough to vote. And we would need just enough self-described “respectable, middle-class people”(mostly working-class but slightly more secure)to not bother voting Tory as they feel let down by them, as usual.
    Not an easy co incidence of factors to achieve, though.

    • I remember what you say as well. I grew up on a council estate in Surrey and it was well looked after by the council. Most tenants looked after the houses and improved them when possible. There were always children poorer than us. There were always so called scroungers going around. However the rents were quite low compared to todays standards as were wages of course. My father did 2 jobs and my mother had to work as well to keep us above the poverty line. There have always been issues between rich and poor.
      However it has now got much worse. Councils sold off the housing stock and now extortionate rents are being paid by renters. Very few new council houses were ever built again to replace the sold off ones. Eight years of Labour did very little to improve things. 12 years of Torys have done very little either. Maybe there is a lock of understanding by MPs about poverty. Most MPs are wealthy these days. I still believe we have a class system operating in this country. We are heading back to the 1970s in my opinion. It was not great then and will not be great for poverty in the future. A low minimum wage is great for employers profits and bad for workers trying hard to pay the much higher bills coming in now. I see no Conservative MP in the race for PM saying they would help the poor. Heaven help us with that bunch of clowns.

      • Joe

        Good post

        I see one front runner for the PM is saying he will run Britain the way Thatcher did. God help us if he is PM.

        So much goes back to Thatcher the stopping of school milk, selling of all our utility companies, selling of our council houses stock and not replacing it,. Allowing her voters to charge rip of high pvt rent. Thatcher destroyed community’s, the coal, steel, ship building community all put on the dole. Allowed bankers to rip of our pensions with they yuppies in porches and fileafax

        No party represents the working classes any more. All the MP’s come from well of families mosty with dodge deals.

        If it does go like the 70’s with lots of strikes, the 3 day week and power cuts, who stands up for the working class ?

        • The Tories represent the ordinary people, regardless of background and gender. There is a very high chance that our next PM will be either an ethnic minority or female – or possibly even a combination of the two. To get to the top in Labour you have to be (a) male (b) white.

          • Do you seriously believe the well of Tories care about the common man/women ?
            What pay rise did the tories give the nhs in thanks of their above and beyond thought covid19….1% wasnt it ?

          • YouFact is, the majority of this country’s citizens are (a) Not wealthy, and (b) Not stupid, wouldn’t you agree?

            Yet more voted for the Tories than for any other party. So these unwealthy/unstupid people (and I include myself amongst them) obviously decided that they’re the party for them.

          • “The Tories represent the ordinary people”.
            No, they don’t. They represent the wealthy and privileged.
            The ethos of the Tory government is to move as much public money into private hands as fast as possible.
            And they’re doing very well.
            As poorer people get poorer, the rich get richer.

          • Are you implying that all rich people were born rich? Or do you accept that many rich people started off poor, and then got rich because we don’t live in a socialist state that discourages people bettering themselves?

            I’ll probably never be rich, but I’m better off than I’ve ever been by doing lots of hard graft (as well as having some talent) under a Tory government.

            Fingers crossed, PM will be the next PM. Labour will then be truly unelectable against her.

          • Peter

            Without getting personal I think your position in life is alot different to others.

            I to would be well of after all my hard work. But you and me differ in the fact that I wanted kids and a family. So most of my hard earn money went into my family.

            We are totally different in that respect, if my wages were just for me and my missus, I might be a tory voter.
            My kids have given much more than money can buy and yes it’s been a hardship. I wouldnt change it for anything.

            I have nothing against the way you live your life but to say you didnt have kids because you couldnt afford that’s fine. Most working classes can never really afford to have a family.

    • “and (b) Not stupid”.
      The average IQ, by definition, is 100.
      IQs are distributed in a “normal” distribution.
      It follows that at least half the population has an IQ of 100 or less.
      I would suggest that the majority of Tory voters (without £100M in some off shore account) come from that set of people.

      • If we’re going to make sweeping statements, I could just as easily argue that the local left shouting outside empty buildings to make youtube videos that receive 5 views don’t come across as the brightest of individuals either.

      • Andrew, congratulations on one of the most ignorant comments ever posted to this site. Once again another far left voter has shown themselves to be bigoted. Just because you don’t get your own way doesn’t mean you have to spit your dummy out.

  17. Keefogs, let me counter that. The Left wing HAVE to believe that poverty is the fault of the Tories, after all It’s got to be someone’s fault doesn’t it.
    Believe it or not but the Labour Party have been in power before and guess what, not much changed because There’s only so much money and the NHS and the benefits system already swallow up most of it.

    • Well I suppose that’s one way of doing away with the working classes !

      Not sure who would do all the dirty back breaking manual work that the country needs doing. If we are all middle class pen pushers.

  18. We live in the fifth richest country in the world, we live in the most unequal country in Europe. We have more billionaires in Britain than any european country while having a record number of food banks. Tory candidates all want corporation tax cut funded by further cuts to vital services such as bus services, doctors surgeries.

  19. If you cannot afford them,do not have them.There is no divine right to have children.
    If you breed them, don’t the complain that you cannot afford to feed them.

    • I believe that there should in normal circumstances be a maximum of (say) 2, for which afterwards any support is left to the parent(s). However, there should also be a safety net: my own sister had 6 kids with her partner, and they both worked hard to provide for them; unfortunately, her partner tragically died in a work-related accident, which led to my sister working even harder to provide for her kids. Without any child benefit (etc) they would’ve starved.

      As for me personally, when I and my (then) partner vaguely considered having a child, we came to the conclusion that it wasnt financially viable. Later, when my finances improved, I had decided that having a family wasn’t for me.

  20. Poverty leads to crime. Hungry children dont forget and can go up to be antisocial.

    There is a link

    As a society (and area) we reap what we sow

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