35% of West Midlands children living in poverty up to Christmas

Mission Christmas aims to ensure that no children miss a gift

Author: Mick CoylePublished 7 hours ago
Last updated 7 hours ago

About 35% of children in the West Midlands live in poverty as we launch our annual campaign to ensure that all children receive a gift under the tree this Christmas.

The West Midlands also had the third highest percentage of children living in poverty across the UK, with only the North East (37%) and London (38%) being higher.

Birmingham is mainly responsible for the region being hit so hard, with the city having the 9th highest percentage of children in poverty (42.5%) out of all UK local authorities.

It is also the only local authority within the ten worst affected, which is outside London, where the Tower Hamlets district is the worst in the UK for child poverty.

However, three constituencies in Birmingham were among the top five constituencies in the UK with the highest percentage of child poverty.

Statistics from End Child Poverty show that before the pandemic, 30% of children lived in poverty, which is 500,000 more than five years ago.

Experts fear that the effects on the coronavirus pandemic and other factors have made the situation much worse:

  • The energy bill is rising at a record high
  • The end of the universal credit increase is making families £ 20 a week worse
  • Job security caused by the Corona pandemic and Brexit
  • Rising inflation is pushing up prices

Free Radio’s Mission Christmas is back in 2021 to help give gifts and presents to families who otherwise would not be able to afford them.

Families are struggling to pay for Christmas

Graham Whitham of the End Child Poverty Coalition says 2021 has been another tough year for parents and low-income families.

“It’s been a tough time for families up and down the country, and with the extra costs that come up for Christmas, high energy bills and other financial pressures, it’s really going to hit low – income families.

“You have children living in this country who do not want a merry Christmas and who do not want the things that other families have and that can not be right. All families should be able to celebrate Christmas and the big occasions, for that is what life is about, and no one should be denied it.

Asked whether campaigns like Mission Christmas can make a difference for local families, Graham agreed: “As we approach Christmas, we think of families who cannot afford the things that other families take for granted, so let “Reach out and help each other. Second and make sure we can all have a Merry Christmas.”

Mission jul

The goal of Mission Christmas is to ensure that children across the UK wake up to a Christmas morning gift. Unfortunately many children & young people from families living in poverty risk waking up to nothing.

Cash for Kids encourages free radio listeners, local businesses, schools & community groups to join together to get involved in Mission Christmas this year.

New, unwrapped gifts can be donated to one of them special drop-off points across the area.

Alternatively cash donations & Proceeds from fundraising will allow Cash for Kids to purchase additional gifts to secure each child & young person wakes up to a gift on the big day.

More details on how to get involved in Mission Christmas can be found here.

Another difficult year for families

There is concern that some families may find it even harder to pay for Christmas this year:

Children living in poverty

By March 2020, 4.3 million children were living in poverty in the UK. That is 30% of all children and 500,000 more than five years ago.
It is feared that the pandemic and the economic situation caused by Brexit have made the situation even worse

Money worries

The £ 20-a-week increase in Universal Credit, introduced at the start of the pandemic, was removed by the government in October.
Campaigners say the cut in income is affecting the poorest members of society, and prices are starting to rise.

Energy prices are rising

Inflation is rising in line with Christmas.
That means we all have to pay more for everyday goods.
The price of gas has risen sharply since the summer, leaving some families choosing between heating their homes or feeding their families.

Working families are struggling

Three-quarters of children living in poverty come from households where at least one parent works. That is an increase from two-thirds in 2014-15.

Where is it worst hit?

There are people living in poverty throughout the UK, but the highest numbers are in cities with the largest populations, London and Birmingham.
Wales has the highest rate per. nation, while poverty is rising fastest in the Northeast.

Hear all the latest news from across the West Midlands hourly, hourly, on 103.1 and 97.2FM (Wolverhampton, Black Country and Shropshire), 96.4FM (Birmingham), 97 and 102.9FM (Coventry and Warwickshire), 97.6FM, 102.8FM and 96.7FM (Herefordshire and Worcestershire), DAB, on freeradio.co.uk and on the Free Radio app.

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