More than half of the children living in constituencies near Skegness are living in poverty.
The shocking statistics were revealed by the End Child Poverty Coalition - and come in a week when the town’s foodbank has once again been plunged into crisis with more families than ever needing help.
New figures reveal 51 per cent of youngsters living in Wainfleet and Friskney, which form part of the Boston and Skegness constituency, are living in low income households.
The numbers in the Trusthorpe and Mablethorpe south area, part of Louth and Hourncastle constituency, were also around 50%.
The national average for the whole country is 26%.
“It is scandalous that a child born in some parts of the UK now has a greater chance of growing up in poverty, than being in a family above the breadline,” said Sam Royston, chairman of End Child Poverty and Director of Policy and Research at the Children’s Society.
“There can be little doubt that the Government’s policy of maintaining the benefits freeze despite rising prices is a major contributor to the emerging child poverty crisis.”
Debby Harland, foodbank client advisor, says she is not surprised by the report.
Appeals over the Christmas period saw the shelves brimming with food but she says now that is not the case. She said: “Our food stocks are going out as fast as donations are coming in. People have been paying their bills but then not having anything left for food
“For many it’s a choice of keeping warm or eating. Gone are the days of the ‘nuclear families’ where people could get help from their parents and that is a contributing factor. The changes in the way benefits are paid, and the delays involved, doesn’t help. More people are finding themselves in debt too.”
Boston and Skegness MP Matt Warman said: “Skegness is home to a diverse range of families on a wide range of incomes. While I recognise that the economy is still difficult for many families, in our area and across the country the Government remains committed to tackling child poverty.
“The minimum wage has been increased, and the new National Living Wage will mean someone previously on the minimum wage will see their pay rise by a third by 2020.
“At the same time, the new Universal Credit system will ensure it always pays to go out to work, and raising the income tax personal allowance will mean the low paid keep more of what they earn.
“Significant increases in the childcare support available for working parents will also make it easier to combine work with raising a family.
“I would urge any family experiencing difficulties to contact me, so that I can check they are receiving all welfare support to which they are entitled.”
HOW YOU CAN HELP THE FOOD BANK
to meet the rising demand for food parcels in the Skegness area, the Storehouse on North Parade is appealing for more donations, especially of tinned produce.
The foodbank particularly needs instant mash, longlife milk, tinned fruit, rice pudding, pasta sachets, pasta sauce and tinned potatoes.
Maureen said: “We’ve had tremendous support over the past few weeks which we are extremely grateful for.
“But, with 50 referrals a week for food parcels we need to keep donations coming in. We need everything really.
“We also desperately need a freezer for any donations of fresh meat we receive, as we have nowhere to store this.
“So if anyone can help that would be marvellous.”
If you can help, call the Storehouse on 01754 766766.