Shocking new statistics have revealed that around one third of Burnley children are living below the poverty line.
And in some wards the figures are even more striking, with half of youngsters living in poverty in Daneshouse with Stoneyholme.
Other troubled areas include Bank Hall (40.97%), Lanehead (38.49%), Queensgate (38.46%), and Trinity (38.05%), while wards least affected by the problem have been revealed as Whittlefield with Ightenhill (12.12%), Briercliffe (12.19%), and Cliviger with Worsthorne (14.38%).
The alarming numbers have been laid bare in a report by The Campaign to End Child Poverty. Recorded between October and December 2013 the figures, for the first time, take into account the impact of housing costs.
According to chairman of End Child Poverty David Holmes, the grim statistics show that “far too many children whose parents are struggling to make a living are suffering”, and that as a result they are “missing out on the essentials of a decent childhood”.
Leading children’s charity Barnardo’s, members of the Campaign to End Child Poverty, have said that families living in poverty can have as little as £12 per day per person to buy everything they need such as food, heating, toys, clothes, electricity and transport. And they add that living in poverty can have an impact on children’s lives, health, and day-to-day family life.
For Burnley MP Gordon Birtwistle the figures are a result of years of deprivation in the town - a problem, he says, which is now being resolved.
He said: “It takes a long while to turn a ship round that has been going the wrong way, but the Government are working on it. There has been massive investment in Burnley - £50m. - and it is a lot better than five years ago.”
Other local authority areas in East Lancashire are also mired in alarmingly high poverty rates, with one in three children also living in poverty in Pendle. Only in the Ribble Valley are figures lower, with 14.10% of children said to be in poverty, when considering housing costs.
Nationally, the local authorities with the highest levels of child poverty are Tower Hamlets (49%), Hackney (41%), and Newham (41%).
Mr Holmes said: “These figures reveal just how widely and deeply child poverty reaches into our communities, even those areas generally regarded as well off. We can and must do better for our children.
“Poverty ruins childhood and reduces life chances. Failing to invest properly in children is false economy: already child poverty costs the country £29billion each year and in the long run taxpayers will foot an even higher bill for correcting the damage.
“We are calling on all politicians of all parties to urgently set out a clear roadmap towards ending child poverty, which includes the additional actions needed and the measures by which progress will be tracked.”