Rate of child poverty over the average
Radstock has one of the worst levels of child poverty in the West, according to newly-released figures.
The report, published by the End Child Poverty Campaign, includes up-to-date figures broken down by Parliamentary constituency, local authority and council ward.
Bath and north east Somerset as a local authority area has lower than average levels of child poverty with 12 per cent of children living in poverty overall.
But the report shows there are pockets of deprivation, including Radstock where 21 per cent of children are part of a family that is either living on unemployment benefits or on less than 60 per cent of the average household income.
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This is more than double the figure for the neighbouring Midsomer Norton North ward where only eight per cent of children and Peasedown St John, where ten per cent of children live in poverty. The report shows that only Twerton, with 34 per cent, and Southdown, with 25 per cent, have worse figures, with the Chew Valley amongst the country's lowest with less than five per cent.
The report says there are 4,056 children across B&NES living in poverty.
The campaign group has used the publication of its report to call on the Government and councils to protect people on low income families when making decisions about welfare spending, in particular changes to council tax and housing benefit.
Councillor Simon Allen (Lib Dem, Radstock), B&NES cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said the council was playing its part: "One child in poverty, is one child too many. However, where there is a child in poverty there is also a family in poverty. This year Radstock will see over £100,000 in extra funding to our local schools to help those kids who are most disadvantaged get a good start in life. There will be no reductions in the youth service, offering young people opportunities to learn, relax and develop in a safe environment. "The Radstock regeneration will bring new homes and new employment opportunities. In my role as chair of B&NES health and wellbeing board, one of our main priorities is in closing the opportunity gap between the richest and poorest."