Published: 10:00, 20 February 2013
| Updated: 10:09, 20 February 2013
An increasing number of children are living in poverty. Posed by model
More than a quarter of children in parts of Kent are living in poverty, shocking new figures released today reveal.
As many as 28% of children in Thanet come from a struggling family - one of the highest levels in the south east.
The Campaign to End Child Poverty says more than 8,000 young people living around Margate, Ramsgate and Broadstairs are living below the breadline.
Statistics show one in five children across large parts of Kent - or more than 77,000 - now officially lives in poverty.
The figures also show a huge disparity in different parts of the county - with children in some areas twice as likely to be living in poverty than others elsewhere.
Report authors say the numbers, collated last year, leave children facing "gross levels of inequality" and are on the increase.
Among the areas in Kent with at least one in five children in poverty include Swale (25%) followed by Shepway and Medway (23%), Gravesham and Dover (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%).
Enver Solomon, chairman of the End Child Poverty campaign, said: "Far too many children whose parents are struggling to making a living are having to go hungry and miss out on the essentials of a decent childhood that all young people should be entitled to.
"The huge disparities that exist across the country have become more entrenched and are now an enduring reality as many more children are set to become trapped in long term poverty and disadvantage.
"Local authorities are having to deal with reduced budgets, but they have critical decisions to make. We’re calling on authorities to prioritise low income families in the decisions they make about local welfare spending, including spending on the new council tax benefit, and on protecting families hit by the bedroom tax."
In the report, children are classified as being in poverty if they live in families claiming out-of-work benefits or in-work tax credits where their income is less than 60% of the average.