Derry tops child poverty league

Derry tops the North's child poverty league.
Derry tops the North's child poverty league.

Derry has the highest number of children living in child poverty in Northern Ireland.

According to newly released figures from the Department of Social Development, the Derry and Limavady council districts top the child poverty league.

Right across the North, the figures are on the increase and are higher than the UK average.

Statistics for 2009-10 show that an extra 14,000 children in the region now live in poverty. This represents a 3% increase on the previous year.

The council areas with the highest numbers of cases are Derry at 44% and Limavady 34%.

The research found that seven of the 26 councils in Northern Ireland have a rate of 30% or more.

Fergus Cooper, head of the charity Save the Children in NI, said that the 2009-10 Households Below Average Income survey shows that 28% of children are growing up in poverty in Northern Ireland.

He said: “The figure for the whole of the UK is 20%. More worryingly, figures in most regions of Britain actually fell one or two per cent over the same period whereas they rose 3% here.”

Mr Cooper warned that child poverty is rising despite government commitments to put an end to it by 2020.

“We know that since 2010, low income families in Northern Ireland have faced rising inflation, growing unemployment and the highest energy and childcare costs in the UK. The Chancellor’s autumn statement removing the promised £110 Child Tax Credit and freezing Working Tax Credits will further hurt hard working families.”

The children’s charity is calling on the NI Executive and individual Ministers to ensure that they can meet their obligations to children under the 2010 Child Poverty Act.

Mr Cooper concluded: “The 2020 target is to reduce child poverty below 10%.”