Quarter of children in Highbridge brought up in poverty - report (From Burnham and Highbridge Weekly News)
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Quarter of children in Highbridge brought up in poverty - report
ONE in four children in Highbridge is being brought up in poverty, a shock report claims.
Research by the Campaign to End Child Poverty says 24% of youngsters are living in homes below the breadline, well above the 16% figure for the whole of Sedgemoor.
MP Tessa Munt branded the figures “shocking”, while charity Barnardo's urged the Government to do more to help debt-stricken families.
Ms Munt said some Government policies, such as the Pupil Premium, were aimed at helping those families in greatest need.
She said she was now considering creating a leaflet to send to her constituents, to make them aware of the services available locally if they find themselves in dire financial straits.
She told the Weekly News: “I've had a look at this report and it makes difficult reading.
“Some of the figures are really quite shocking.
“It's important to remember the figures are related to how everybody in the country is doing, so it does fluctuate hugely but it is still pretty appalling that we have people who need to use food banks.
“There are parts of my constituency where everything looks lovely because we live in a beautiful area, but it masks the very difficult circumstances that some people find themselves in.
“The problems they face are compounded by the fact that they are often not aware of the help available to them.”
The Campaign for Child Poverty said although the South-West fared better than other parts of the country, there were still “huge disparities” in the region which councils needed to address.
The child poverty figures for other parts of the area include: Burnham North 8%; Burnham South 13%; Brent Knoll 11% and Berrow 16%.
Barnardo's said too many families were caught up in “vicious cycles of debt”, forcing them to decide between heating and eating.
A spokesman for Sedgemoor District Council said: “We're aware there are challenges in Sedgemoor, particularly in Bridgwater and Highbridge.
“It's important that we continue to focus on the potential solutions - job creation, new growth and creating opportunities for the hard to reach.”
Somerset County Council said it worked “tirelessly” with the Somerset Children and Young People's Trust to provide support for the most vulnerable children.