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New figures show fewer Wirral children are living in poverty
FEWER Wirral children are now living in poverty, according to new figures released today.
HM Revenue and Customs revealed that 17,155 youngsters were forced to live on the breadline during 2010 compared with 17,615 the year before.
Neighbouring Liverpool also saw a reduction from 32,460 to 31,070.
However Birkenhead MP Frank Field said the statistics would do little to help to understand the causes of poverty and that the problem needed to be tackled.
Mr Field, who is chairman of the Liverpool City Region Child Poverty and Life Chances Commission, said: “These figures are of limited use when trying to have a serious understanding of poverty and more importantly its causes.
"Whilst the data shows a slight reduction in the official figures for child poverty in 2010, we know that many families in 2012 are struggling to make ends meet, many of them having to resort to food banks to abate their hunger.
“The fall in the figures has nothing to do with rising incomes, but falling national median income.”
He added that his recent work on child poverty had led to new indicators of poverty being introduced.
He said: “Tackling child poverty has to be a priority for us, and in order to do this, we need a better understanding of the causes of poverty.
"I recently carried out a Poverty Review at the request of the Prime Minister, and in it I made a number of recommendations about how to prevent poor children from becoming poor adults.
“Because the current measures make a mockery of our understanding of poverty and its root causes, one of my key recommendations was to construct a set of Life Chances Indicators, which would measure the drivers of poverty.
“The Foundation Years Trust in Birkenhead has commissioned Cambridge University to construct these Indicators, which will ensure we concern ourselves with the causes of poverty, rather than its pure measurement”
And Wirral Council leader Phil Davies also argued that the figures do not account for benefit cuts across the country.
Councillor Phil Davies said: “These figures don’t take account the impact of recent benefit cuts and the draconian cuts to the budgets of local Councils in areas like Wirral over the past two years.
"We desperately need to see growth in our local economy to generate new jobs and adequate funding for vital public services.”