Child poverty is increasing faster in Hartlepool than almost every area nationwide
Hartlepool Borough Council’s audit and governance committee will next week receive a “setting the scene” report as part of its investigation into child poverty in the town.
This includes information on how child poverty in Hartlepool has risen by 10.4% from 2014-15 to 2019-20, according to Loughborough University’s Centre for Research and Social Policy data.
This places it eighth nationally out of 333 local authorities in terms of the highest increases, with Newcastle upon Tyne seeing the highest increase at 12.8%, while Hartlepool is also below Redcar and Cleveland, Darlington and County Durham.
The 2019-20 research estimated that 37.8% of children in Hartlepool live in poverty, the second highest in the Tees Valley behind Middlesbrough, which at 39.4% features in the top 20 highest rates nationally.
The figures are calculated by looking at the percentage of children in households with below 60% median income after housing costs.
Penny Thompson, the council’s head of housing, hardship and welfare services, will be presenting the report to councillors on Thursday, September 9, stressing the importance of tackling the issue and the reasons behind it.
She said: “Despite tireless work to mitigate the impact of poverty on children and families in Hartlepool, numbers continue to rise at an alarming rate.
“The societal costs of people living in poverty outweigh the costs of eradicating it. Health, social security, education and aspiration are compromised by poverty.
“Services that we currently deliver to support people in crisis and/or to mitigate poverty need to be reviewed in order to ensure they are reaching the people that need them and have genuine impact.”
Harnessing the knowledge, skills and experience of related organisations in the region and talking to residents about their ‘lived experience’ have been highlighted as being key to ongoing work to tackle the problems.
The report states drivers of poverty include unemployment, housing costs and the benefit system while money management and debt have also been highlighted as issues in Hartlepool.