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One in five Sittingbourne children living in poverty

Swale council leader Cllr Andrew Bowlesby Hayley Robinson

Swale council’s leader says he is confident future growth in the borough will help to address child poverty.

Cllr Andrew Bowles was speaking after figures for 2012 showed a rise in the number of children living below the breadline.

Some 22% of youngsters in Sittingbourne alone were found to be affected – 550 more than 2011.

The worse affected ward was Milton Regis, where 395 (33%) out of 1,197 youngsters are living in poverty.

The worst ward in the Sheppey and Sittingbourne constituency was Sheerness West, where there were 749 (46%) out of 1,628.

When we reported on the issue last February, Cllr Bowles said Swale was working hard to tackle the issue.

He hoped regeneration plans would bring new jobs and help ease the situation, but the dire economic situation had meant new employment opportunities had not come as fast as the council would have liked.

Speaking this week, he said: “In the current climate it’s difficult to get regeneration going at the speed we would like.

“However, we are seeing a growth in jobs in the area, what with the Morrisons' development in Sittingbourne and the one at Neats Court, Queenborough. It will kick in.”

Other areas in Kent with at least one in five children in poverty include Thanet (28%), Shepway and Medway (both 23%), Gravesham and Dover (both 22%) and Canterbury (20%).

Others that fared better include Dartford (19%), Ashford (18%), Maidstone (17%), Tonbridge and Malling (15%) and Sevenoaks and Tunbridge Wells (14%).

Details for the other Sittingbourne wards are as follows:

West Downs 61 out of 555 (11%);

Iwade and Lower Halstow 150 out of 1,154 (13%);

St Michael’s 213 out of 1,331 (16%);

 Hartlip, Newington, Upchurch 222 out of 1,306 (17%);

Borden 85 out of 472 (18%);

Kemsley 475 out of 2,159 (22%);

Grove 430 out of 1,870 (23%);

Teynham and Lynsted 248 out of 1,078 (23%);

Chalkwell 314 out of 1,365 (23%);

Roman 317 out of 1,057 (30%);

Murston 483 out of 1,558 (31%).

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