MORE than half of the children in two areas of Bolton are growing up in poverty, a new report has warned.

Research by the End Child Poverty coalition showed that Halliwell and Rumworth are among the 87 wards the in UK where child poverty is above 50 per cent. In 2015, there were just 21 areas with such severe deprivation.

Across the Bolton borough there are 23,405 children in poverty — a rate of is 34.1 per cent, which compares to 39.6 in Blackburn, 43.6 in Manchester, and 27 in Bury.

Child poverty — covering those in a family living on less than 60 per cent of median household income — is at 52.2 per cent in Halliwell and 50.1 per cent in Rumworth.

In Farnworth the child poverty rate is 42.63 per cent, 47.18 per cent in Great Lever, and 44.31 per cent in Crompton.

The wards with the lowest reported rates of child poverty are Bromley Cross, Heaton and Lostock, and Westhoughton North and Chew Moor — with 10.8, 6.3, and 17.2 per cent respectively.

Sir David Crausby, Labour MP for Bolton North East, said: “It is disgraceful that in 2018 we have areas were more than half of children are growing up in poverty.

“I’m calling on the Government to take these findings seriously and turn away from this destructive agenda which is harming the lives of children and young people. We need a new approach to support families and raise living standards.”

Acting council leader and Halliwell councillor Linda Thomas said: “We do have one of best Anti-Poverty support offers in Greater Manchester, as we try, with all that is in our power, to protect residents from the catastrophic rollout of Universal Credit, seven years of flatline wages and the rising cost of living for families.”

She added: “There is a lot of good working being done in Bolton, but the urgency must never end if we are to ever to narrow the gap in Bolton.”

A Government spokesman said: “The best route out of poverty is through employment, and since 2010 an extra three million more people are now in work and 600,000 fewer children are living in workless households.

“But we recognise that budgets are tight, and that’s why we’re helping families keep more of what they earn.

“We’ve doubled free childcare — worth £5,000 per child each year — while our £2.5 billion pupil premium programme is supporting two million disadvantaged schoolchildren across the country.”