Almost 5,000 children in St Helens are in poverty, sparking criticism over support for working families.
New figures reveal that 4,935 youngsters are living below the breadline, which, at 23.6 per cent of the child population, is higher than the regional average of 20.7 per cent.
The North West as a whole is worse off, as nationally, only 18.7 per cent of youths are in poverty,
As a result, Conor McGinn, MP for St Helens North challenged the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Iain Duncan Smith, on support for working families and child poverty levels.
Speaking in the House of Commons, he told MPs that child poverty in St Helens North is higher than the national average and called on the Minister to consider the effect cuts to work benefits would have on child poverty.
He said: “In my constituency child poverty levels are almost five per cent above the national average and recent statistics show that the number of children living in poverty is not decreasing. No child should have to live in poverty and the lack of progress is worrying. We should be working to address the root causes and ensure working families get the support they need. Taking away support from working families will only make the situation worse for families in my constituency and across the UK. I hope the minister will take my concerns seriously and will fully examine the impact of any cut to in work benefits.”
The child poverty estimates are based on the proportion of children living in families in receipt of out of work benefits or in receipt of tax credits where their reported income is less than 60 per cent of median income.