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Towns have a high child poverty level
Thursday, 05 April 2012
A call for action has been issued after it was revealed that Liskeard and Looe has the third highest proportion of child poverty in Cornwall.
The figures, published by the Supporting Families Local Network, show that within the Liskeard and Looe Community Network Area 32.1 per cent of children under the age of 15 are living in poverty, with an above average percentage of 16 to 19-year-olds in the same position.
A child is considered to be in poverty if they live in a family in receipt of out of work benefits or in receipt of tax credits where their reported income is less than 60 per cent of median income.
In Cornwall as a whole, 19 per cent of children under 15 are below the poverty line.
Department of Work and Pension figures set an average poverty line of £248 a week, after tax but before housing costs. For a couple with two children, the figure is £347 a week; for a single parent with one child, it’s £215.
When young people aged up to 19 are taken into account Liskeard and Looe rank ninth county-wide, while the Cornwall Gateway community network, which includes Saltash and Torpoint, ranks 15th, with 14.6 per cent of young people living below the poverty line.
Katie Barron, manager of Locality 8, which consists of the Liskeard and Looe and the Cornwall Gateway community networks, said the report as a whole demonstrated the levels of child poverty across Liskeard, Looe, Saltash and Torpoint and the the rising level of need with respect to families who may be working.
She is appealing to local councillors to plan an event to raise the profile of various agencies who can provide support for families such as the Citizens Advice Bureau, the Family Information Service, The Children’s Centre and Fire Safety.
She has been backed by Cornwall councillor Armand Toms, who is working with Looe Town Council to set up such a meeting locally in May.
He says that while the figures are based on information dating back to 2008 the ‘shocking’ situation in the two South East Cornwall community networks was probably worse as a result of the continued economic downturn.
‘I am very keen to see this event go ahead to see, not only how we can make the situation better, but how we can encourage the communities to help themselves,’ he said.
Cornwall Council established and supports 19 community networks across Cornwall based on the main towns and the rural areas which relate to them, to act as focal points for bringing communities together and driving improvements.
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