Friday, 3 October 2008

Reports show depth of poverty in Kemp Town and Peacehaven

Two sets of figures published today reveal the shocking depths of poverty suffered by thousands of children and families in Kemp Town and Peacehaven.

Incredibly, a report from the Campaign to End Child Poverty shows that half of the children in the Brighton Kemptown parliamentary constituency are living in low-income families.

According to the umbrella organization, which includes UNICEF, Save The Children and the TUC, 50 per cent of children growing up in the parliamentary constituency live in a home where either no adult is working more than 16 hours a week or the family is reliant on benefits.

The figure shows that Brighton Kemptown is the third toughest area in the region to bring up kids, with only Hastings and Rye and Portsmouth South scoring worse.

And as if that wasn't enough Government figures released today revealed the number of households in fuel poverty rose to 3.5 million in 2006, one million more than in 2005. Fuel poverty is defined as affecting any household which spends more than 10% of its income on fuel.

It’s pretty clear that life is hard – and getting worse – for thousands of children and their families in this city.

Labour promised to halve child poverty by 2010 – and these figures reveal how far the Government is from actually delivering.

We need to introduce a range of new initiatives to make a practical difference to child poverty and worklessness: free healthy school meals for all primary pupils, for example, a roll-out of free insulation to cut fuel bills and winter poverty and massive support for ‘green’ industries to get our local economy moving again.

This Government seems to think nothing of bailing out city bankers - when will it do the same for ordinary families?

It's an indictment of life under a Labour government and Tory councils, and it reminds me how urgently we need some Green thinking at every level of government.

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