20% of children are living below the poverty line

More than 20 per cent of children in Crawley live in poverty according to a report.

The figures released by children’s charity Campaign to End Child Poverty, shows 21 per cent of youngsters are living below the poverty line in the town.

Child poverty is measured by relative low income (household earning less than £16,000) and includes cases of parents who cannot afford new shoes for their children when they are needed, and are forced to skip meals to save money.

The figures, which were released in February and reflect mid-2012, also show a breakdown of child poverty in each of the town’s neighbourhoods.

The highest number of poverty was recorded in Broadfield, which has 32 per cent of its children living in poverty.

This is compared to Maidenbower which has just 11 per cent.

Bewbush has the second highest with 27 per cent of children living in poverty while Broadfield North has 26 per cent.

Ifield has 25 per cent of children in poverty, while Langley Green, Northgate and West Green have 24 per cent.

21 per cent of children living in Southgate and Tilgate live in poverty compared to 22 per cent in Three Bridges.

The lowest figures for child poverty were in Gossops Green (18 per cent), Furnace Green (17 per cent) and Pound Hill South and Worth, and Pound Hill North (12 per cent).

The over all figure for Crawley has increased over the last two years, in 2011 18 per cent of children were living in poverty in the town.

The report urged local authorities to do more to help eradicate child poverty.

It blamed regional trends in employment and cuts to the support local authorities receive from the government for the situation.

Crawley MP Henry Smith, said: “I believe that child poverty is one of the biggest issues facing our country.

“The answer for Crawley in tackling this issue is threefold: reducing unemployment, now at 3.5 per cent locally, supporting schemes to help less well off children, like the Pupil Premium which sees Crawley receive an extra £3 million of support, and reducing the tax burden which this year has seen more than 4,300 Crawley households taken out of paying income tax altogether.”