Nearly half of children in Loxford ward ‘in poverty’

�Nearly half of all children in one Redbridge ward are living in poverty, figures released on Tuesday show, but it is a different story in the north of the borough.

The End Child Poverty campaign has calculated that 46 per cent of Loxford children live with families who receive benefits or earn less than 60 per cent of the median national income.

That translates into total spending of �12 per day or less on each family member after housing costs, according to Tim Nichols, the campaign’s co-ordinator.

There is a similar picture in neighbouring Clementswood ward, where 41 per cent of children are in poverty, while in Monkhams, just a few miles away, the figure is just five per cent.

Cllr Muhammed Javed, of Clementswood ward, said: “It’s worrying. If you’re unemployed you’re going to cut corners in terms of food, education, additional help for children like computers – those things that encourage children to do well.

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“I think the current economic situation has a lot to do with it.”

Across Redbridge, a quarter of children are in poverty according to the research – the 19th highest level out of 33 London boroughs.

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Luke Derbyshire, of City Gates Christian Centre, runs homework and music clubs for children in Loxford to help improve their educational attainment.

He said: “With parents’ unemployment, especially in a recession, we can’t help them in getting a job, but we try to empower the kids so that they can get a job.”

Mike Gapes, Labour MP for Ilford South, said: “I am seriously concerned about this, and concerned at the public spending cuts going through at the moment.”

Redbridge Council adopted a strategy in June to tackle child poverty. Alongside work in children’s centres, it has launched an initiative in Loxford to help single parents and social housing tenants from ethnic minority groups gain employment.

Cllr Alan Weinberg, cabinet member for children’s services, said: “We are committed to tackling the causes of child poverty and reducing how it affects families.”

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