Derry child poverty shock

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More than one in three children in Derry live in poverty - the highest rate in Northern Ireland.

The shock figure is revealed in the Uk wide Campaign to End Child Poverty, Child Poverty Map released by children’s charity Barnardo’s.

Those figures reveal Derry, where 35% of children live in poverty, has the fifth highest rate of child poverty across all 60 UK council areas.

Director Barnardo’s NI Lynda Wilson said there is an onus on the north’s politicians to properly address child poverty.

“Behind today’s statistics sit the most vulnerable children in society whose life chances risk being compromised by our failure to tackle child poverty effectively.

“While the Northern Ireland Executive has already undertaken steps to address child poverty with the introduction of a Child Poverty Strategy there needs to be further emphasis on literacy, numeracy and early intervention to address educational underachievement and the introduction of a Child Care Strategy to help families facing financial hardship.”

She said children growing up in low income households “are more likely to suffer from chronic illness, do less well in education and struggle to find work on leaving school.”

The child poverty map further reveals that in Strabane records 32% of children live in poverty while in Limavady the figure stands at 26%.

The Derry rate is more than double that of North Down, Magherafelt, Larne, Castlereagh, Banbridge, Ballymena, Antrim, Ards, Carrickfergus and Armagh

Enver Solomon, Chair of the End Child Poverty Campaign said:“The huge disparities that exist across the country have become more entrenched and are now an enduring reality as many more children are set to become trapped in long term poverty and disadvantage.”

According to the official UK government definition child poverty means a family of two adults and two children with an income (or below) of £349 a week (after housing costs) – which is 60% below the national average income and means just £12 (or less) per person, per day.