Redbridge child poverty ‘of great concern’, says Mike Gapes MP
PUBLISHED: 18:40 17 October 2014
Child poverty in Redbridge has been branded a “great concern” in the wake of a report published last week.
Figures released by the Campaign to End Child Poverty showed more than a third of children in Ilford South grow up in poverty, compared to more than one in four in Ilford North.
Ilford South MP Mike Gapes said the findings from the Campaign to End Child Poverty highlighted “a matter of great concern” and called for action on housing needs.
The Labour politician’s constituency, which includes the areas of Loxford, Ilford and Seven Kings, has the 16th highest rate of child poverty in all of London.
Altogether 37pc of children growing up in Ilford South live in poverty, compared with 28pc in Ilford North, which comes in at 46th out of the 72 constituencies in the capital.
Mr Gapes said: “I’ve got poorer communities, with larger families and a younger population, and a lot of very poor quality housing.
“There’s some living in over-crowded conditions with young children.
“There are great social needs in the south of the borough.”
He added: “Obviously it’s a matter of great concern to me.”
Mr Gapes singled out housing as exacerbating poverty in his constituency.
“We’ve got to deal with housing needs,” he said.
“We’ve got some appalling landlords, which is why I’m pleased the council is clamping down on this.”
In September, Redbridge Council began an enforcement campaign targeting landlords thought not to hold HMO licences.
Anyone without a licence – required for houses lived in by five or more people who make up more than one household – faces prosecution and a possible £20,000 fine.
Housing cabinet member Cllr Muhammed Javed said the council was aware of the problems facing the borough and linked the issue of child poverty to housing.
“For me as cabinet member for housing, the priority is to build more homes so people have a secure and safe place to live.
“And for the first time in more than 30 years we’re building council houses.”
David Holmes, chair of the Campaign, said: “Poverty ruins childhoods and reduces life chances.
“Failing to invest properly in children is a false economy: already child poverty costs the country £29bn each year and in the long run taxpayers will foot an even higher bill for correcting the damage.”
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