More than a third of Bolton’s children are living in poverty according to a “damning” new report.

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation found that a staggering 42 per cent of the borough’s children were living in poverty, the fifth highest of any are of the North West.

This comes after recent revelations about the resurgence diseases associated with deprivation in the Victorian era in pockets of the country.

Bolton South East MP Yasmin Qureshi said: “It is a damning indictment of 14 years of Conservative failure, both locally and nationally.

“The Conservative Government has crashed the economy and the cost of living crisis has hit places like Bolton harder than most.”

The Bolton News: Bolton South East MP Yasmin Qureshi has described the findings as damningBolton South East MP Yasmin Qureshi has described the findings as damning (Image: Henry Lisowski)

She added: “We are seeing the impacts of cuts to funding and incompetence in managing our vital services by the Conservatives in every part of our lives.

“Only this week, it was revealed tens of thousands of people in the UK have been diagnosed with conditions such as malnutrition, rickets and scurvy since Rishi Sunak took office in 2022.

“We cannot go on like this.”

Ms Qureshi had been referring to recent findings by the LBC network from a Freedom of Information request sent out to 84 NHS foundation trust around the country regarding the illnesses.

This discovered that there had been least 13,000 diagnoses of malnutrition, 15,000 of rickets and more than 150 cases of scurvy between October 2022 and October last year.

Bolton has long been particularly hard hit by eye watering levels of child poverty.

In June 2023, a report by the End Child Poverty Coalition found that just under 42 per cent of the borough’s children were living below the breadline in 2022.

This was the third most in Greater Manchester and the 14th most in the UK overall.

After releasing its most recent figures, and with a general election set to be held this year, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation has argued that the next government, of either party, must take action.

They have argued for the introduction of an “essentials guarantee” to Universal Credit to ensure that every household has enough money to afford essentials like food and household bills

ALSO READ: Half of all children live below the breadline in an area of Bolton

ALSO READ: Bolton's rich/poor divide widens with 50 per cent of children living in poverty in one area

ALSO READ: The shameful number of Bolton children living in poverty

The foundation has also said that future governments should come up with longer term plans to tackle the root causes of poverty.

Joseph Rowntree Foundation chief executive Paul Kissack said: “Little wonder that the visceral signs of hardship and destitution are all around us from rocketing use of foodbanks to growing numbers of homeless families.”

He added: “It’s a story which can and must change. 

“Governments are not powerless to act, as we have seen throughout our history.

“One way politicians can take action in the next parliament is to enshrine in law a guarantee that people will always be able to afford the essentials, such as food and household bills, through our benefits system.”

Six million of the poorest people in the UK would need to more than double their income to escape poverty, according to the report which warns this is evidence of a “social failure at scale”.

A sustained fall in poverty has not been seen in two decades, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) said, adding that the number people considered to be living in very deep poverty has risen in that period.

The Bolton News:

Consumer champion Martin Lewis said the report must prompt policymakers and regulators to “sit up (and) take note”.

The well-known voice on money matters said: “I warned at the start of the energy crisis that I was out of tools to help many on the lowest incomes.

“Now we have hit the stark reality that 100,000s of people in the UK, even after they’ve had professional help from money charities, are still deficit budgeting – so their income is less than their minimum necessary expenditure.

“Definitions of poverty are tricky, especially when based on relative incomes, but that smells like a clear indication the problem is getting worse.

“And, let’s be plain, once people are in the deepest mire, it’s not a Money Saving Expert you need, it’s policy makers and regulators to sit up, take note and address these deep rooted problems – which is exactly what I hope they do with this Joseph Rowntree Foundation report highlighting the situation and calling for change.”

JRF said its analysis, which looked at Government and Official National Statistics (ONS) data, showed that more than a fifth (22 per cent) of people in the UK were living in poverty in 2021/22.

This means around 14.4 million people in total, including 8.1 million working-age adults, 4.2 million children and 2.1 million pensioners were living in households below 60 per cent of the median income after housing costs.

Around two in every 10 adults are in poverty in the UK, with about three in every ten children in poverty, the organisation said.

Almost two-thirds (64 per cent) of working-age adults in poverty live in working households, it added – a rise from 61% in 2020/21.

Overall some six million people lived in very deep poverty in 2021/22, having an average income 59 per cent below the poverty line, it said.

Giving the example of a couple with two children aged under 14 who are living in poverty, the JRF said its analysis suggested the average income for this family type after housing costs was £21,900 and they would need an extra £6,200 per year just to reach the poverty line.

A family in that situation but living in very deep poverty had an average income after housing costs of £14,600 and would need around £12,800 on top of their existing income to reach the poverty line, JRF said.