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Children's education harmed by poverty

Poverty in Britain is affecting the education of 1.6 million youngsters raised in families with both income and material deprivation.

Figures released by Save the Children revealed that Manchester and the London borough of Tower Hamlets have the highest proportion of poverty-stricken children, with 27 per cent.

The charity analysed data for local authorities across the UK, which shows that in 29 areas more than one in five children lives in severe poverty.

Of the UK nations, Wales has the highest proportion of children living in severe poverty (14 per cent), followed by England with 13 per cent, then Scotland and Northern Ireland which have 9 per cent each.

Save the Children condemned the figures as a "national scandal" and is urging the Government to draw up an emergency plan in the next budget to channel new jobs into the poorest areas and increase financial support for low-income families.

Sally Copley, Save the Children's head of UK policy, said: "Children up and down the country are going to sleep at night in homes with no heating, without eating a proper meal and without proper school uniforms to put on in the morning."

She continued: "If the Government is to fulfil its commitments on child poverty, it must find a way of counting these children in greatest need."

The charity is calling on the Government to adopt a measure combining both income and material deprivation, because at present there is no official way to find out how many of Britain's 13 million children are living in severe poverty.

Work and Pensions Minister, Maria Miller, said: "It's a shocking legacy from Labour that after thirteen years we have children living in severe poverty, something that's been highlighted in the Save the Children report today, and it's important that we tackle these issues head on."

To read the report, 'Severe Child Poverty' go to www.savethechildren.org.uk

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