One of Tony Blair’s most ambitious targets, was to end child poverty in the UK by 2020. While real progress was made under Labour, halving the figure, the austerity programme of the Tory-led coalition has impacted most on poor families, pushing children back into hardship.
4 million children – one in three – are currently living in poverty in the UK, one of the highest rates in the industrialised world. This is a shocking figure given the wealth of our nation.
Poverty can have a profound impact on the child, their family, and the rest of society. It often sets in motion a deepening spiral of social exclusion, creating problems in education, employment, mental and physical health and social interaction.
Here are the current figures, from the End Child Poverty Campaign:
Percentage of children in poverty, by ward:
Bean and Darenth 20%
Joyce Green 33%
Joydens Wood 10%
Longfield, New Barn and Southfleet 10%
Sutton-at-Hone and Hawley 12%
West Hill 14%
The Impact of the ‘Bedroom Tax’:
325 of DBC tenants are affected by the bedroom tax, which cuts the benefit by 14% for one room and 25% for 2 rooms. This begins in April 2013. Dartford council currently has around 4500 properties, and a long waiting list. Shelter estimate the list will take 7 1/2 years to clear.
It is estimated that about 70% of households affected across the country contain one or more registered disabled person. This group is already being targeted through capability assessments.
On the housing benefit cap ( including most DWP benefits) of £500, 50 families in Dartford are affected including 15 DBC tenants. This is being phased in from April 2013
Over 3000 low income working families will be forced to pay council tax for the first time from April 2013 as a result of the CT reforms. The sums paid will rise significantly in 2014.
Thanks to the great work being done by Dartford churches, the Food Bank at the Vineyard Church is helping around 50 families in hardship each Tuesday and Thursday.