More than 82,000 children in the Black Country 'living in relative poverty'
More than 82,000 children in the Black Country are living in relative poverty, new figures have revealed.
Charity bosses say the latest figures are grim and prove families are "still very much in the depths of a crisis” as inflation increases.
Department for Work and Pensions figures show 26,682 children in Sandwell were living in relative poverty in the year ending April 2022.
There were also 20,681 children in Walsall, 16,477 in Dudley and 18,461 in Wolverhampton.
It meant around a third of children in Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton were in a family whose income was below 60 per cent of average household income and claimed child benefit and at least one other household benefit.
In Dudley, it accounted for just more than a quarter.
And the numbers of those children classed as living in poverty have risen in all areas of the Black Country compared with the previous year.
It comes as the cost of living crisis continues to bite, with many families across the region still seeking help from food banks.
A new project has also launched across Wolverhampton acting as a dedicated service to provide beds and bedding to those that need them.
The Good Night Project is an initiative by Wolverhampton Council, working together with key partners Wolves Foundation and African Caribbean Community Initiative.
Wolverhampton Council's cabinet member for education, skills and work, Councillor Chris Burden, said the city was the first to talk about a bed poverty crisis and work to do something about it.
Becca Lyon, head of child poverty at Save the Children, said children growing up in poverty often grow up too fast as they are exposed to concerns about money and paying bills.
Ms Lyon added: "This can leave lasting scars. Families need a proper benefits system that protects them from hardship, and means children can grow up without having to know what the inside of a food bank looks like.”
Across the UK, 2.47 million children (20.1 per cent) were in relative poverty in the year ending April 2022 – up from about 18.7 per cent the year before.
The Government has also been accused of 'not targeting help for children in low-income families'.
A Government spokesperson said they are “committed to eradicating poverty and supporting those in need, and our actions have helped ensure there are nearly two million fewer people in absolute poverty than there were in 2009-10”.
They said the latest figures “reflect the country coming out of the pandemic and accompanying rising prices” and that record levels of support have been provided through cost of living payments, the Household Support Fund and the Energy Price Guarantee which “will continue to hold down people’s energy bills”.