Child poverty and coronavirus cause surge in food bank demand

With the rise in child poverty rates in the North East, pressure on regional food banks increase

Alicia Curry
27th October 2020
New data reveals that child poverty in the north of England has drastically risen over the last five years.  

The study, commissioned by the End Child Poverty campaign, notes that the North East region has seen the greatest rise in child poverty. The data is based on children living in households below 60% of the median income.

Between 2014-15 and 2018-19 the region has seen an increase from 32% to 41%. This means the North East has the second-highest rate, behind London.

As this data predates coronavirus, the analysis points to lower family incomes and the escalation of housing costs as the main reason. The pandemic will worsen the situation due to headline rates of unemployment. 

Anna Feuchtwang, chair of End Child Poverty, commented: “This data reveals the true extent of the hardship experienced by families on low incomes – the majority of which were working households before the pandemic. The children affected are on a cliff edge, and the pandemic will only sweep them further into danger.”

Between 2014-15 and 2018-19 the region has seen an increase from 32% to 41%

The findings were published days before Conservative MPs voted against the motion to extend free school meals for children over the holidays until Easter 2021. The overall vote was by 322 votes to 261.

The Children’s Society estimated that one in six families are worried about providing for their children at this time, likely turning to charities for support.

South Tyneside Food Bank, in South Shields, has stated it will need 15 tonnes of food and toiletries to get though the coming winter.

A spokesperson for the organisation said that the coronavirus pandemic made the demand for the service greater than ever. They added that the food bank is there to provide emergency help for people in the area "facing food poverty."

They said: "We are able to offer a delivery service for people who qualify for a food parcel and are currently isolating, but delivery slots are limited."

"If you are in need of a food parcel, one can be arranged via the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) housing charities, social workers, children's centres, schools, and health workers."

Featured Image: Flickr

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