More than 13 per cent of children in Mid Sussex are living in poverty, according to startling new figures out this week.
Rising prices are being blamed and the Government is now being urged to end the freeze on child benefits - currently in place until the end of the decade - so that families no longer see living standards squeezed.
The figures have been revealed by a group known as the End Child Poverty coalition which includes charities, faith groups and unions.
The group’s figures show that a total of 13.37 per cent of children in Mid Sussex are living below the poverty line.
In nearby Horsham, 13.9 per cent of children are living in poverty. And although the figures appear high, they are in fact, among the lowest levels of child poverty in the UK. Neighbouring Crawley has one of the highest levels with 25.5 per cent of children there being classified as living in poverty.
Anna Feuchtwang, chief executive of the National Children’s Bureau said: “Poverty can hold children back in many different ways. It can mean children don’t reach a good level of health or development, do well in school or reach their potential in employment.
“The Government has pledged action through its social mobility policy, but the scale of child poverty that this new data reveals, means we urgently need a wider commitment from across Government to improve the living standards of children, young people and families. In particular, we need action to address the devastating impact of benefit cuts on families, including those with disabled children, many of whom are struggling to make ends meet.”
The coalition is also concerned that the impact of poverty may be exacerbated by a poverty premium - which means that low income families can face paying as much as £1,700 per year more than better off families, to buy the same essential goods and services. A major contributor to this is the high cost of credit for low income families.