IW child poverty hits a record high

By IW Observer.co.uk Apr 21, 2022
Poor sad small girl sitting on bed indoors at home, poverty concept.

The number of children living in poverty on the Isle of Wight has hit a record high, at one in five.

Latest figures from the government’s Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) show in the first year of the pandemic, 4,866 under 16-year-olds were living in families with low income, on the Island. That is an estimated 22.2 per cent of children, more than one in five.

It has increased by more than 300 children in a year and is the highest figure since records started in 2014, when 14.8 per cent of children were living in low-income families.

The proportion of affected families has mostly increased, except for a small decline in 2019/20.

The biggest rise in families with low incomes, defined as those earning less than 60 per cent of the national median household income, before housing costs are considered, was in 2016/17.

Of Island children aged 0 to 15 living in poverty last year, 1,416 were under five years old.

DWP figures also show 3,778 children (17.3 per cent) of children aged under 16 were living in absolute poverty.

That means when a household’s income is too low to meet the basic needs of living, including food, shelter and healthcare.

It comes as concerns are raised over the cost of living crisis, with rising inflation and energy bills soaring.

The Isle of Wight Council’s Alliance administration has pledged to tackle poverty in its five-year plan.

Among 50 aspirations, it promised to prioritise dealing with health inequalities and poverty, highlighted during the pandemic, by undertaking a public health-led approach.

In time for the council’s 2022/23 budget, Cllr Andrew Garratt proposed an anti-poverty strategy, calling for it to be embedded in the council’s decision-making.

Instead, a members’ board was to be created, to drive the strategy forward.