Almost one third of children in Southend live in poverty! One of the main causes is the high cost of housing.
Startling new facts are revealed in Southend Council’s Housing, Homelessness & Rough Sleeping Strategy 2018 – 2028.
Child poverty across the borough stands at a staggering 29%, peaking at a shocking 33.6% in Rochford & Southend East constituency. Over one third of children living in poverty!
The Council have committed to build 11,140 new homes between 2016 – 2026 to help tackle the housing crisis in Southend, 62% of which (6,875) homes would have to be either social or affordable housing. In nearly three years just 1,000 homes have been built so far. If the Council keep up this lacklustre performance then they will fall short of their target by a massive 7,740 homes.
Also in their draft plans is a commitment “Bring forward work to build new council housing”, aiming to build 50 units by 2022. That’s fifty – five, zero. Of the thousands needed, and committed to, by 2026, they plan to build just 50.
It is disgraceful that in the 5th richest economy in the world that we find such horrific levels of child poverty right on our doorstep, here in Southend. What is equally as bad is Southend Council’s response and failure to tackle these issues in any meaningful way. We have recently seen the proposed regulation of private landlords in the borough rejected by this Conservative administration, many of whom are themselves landlords and voted down the proposals that would have ensured minimum standards of accommodation, rights and safety for private tenants . Despite asserting they are “committed to learning from the lessons of Grenfell” the Council have been dragging their feet for the last 18 months with Cllr James Courtney – the man responsible for taking action, saying earlier this month he was “still thinking about it”.
The Council’s draft Housing, Homelessness & Rough Sleeping Strategy 2018 – 2028 plans can be seen on pages 141 – 160 of the Agenda Document for Cabinet, 06/11/2018 [pdf file]
Definition of child poverty:
A child is said to live in poverty if they are in a family living on less than 60% of median household income. According to the latest official statistics 60% of median income was around £248 per week.
To find the relevant poverty line for a particular household type, this then needs to be adjusted to take account of household size. For a couple with two children under 14 this means multiplying by 1.4 – giving a poverty line of £347 per week.