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Last Updated: Friday, 11 March, 2005, 09:44 GMT
Study shows rural child poverty
Failing economies in parts of Cumbria are being blamed for an increase in child poverty in the county.

Figures from the campaign group End Child Poverty show that almost 47% of families with children in the Sandwith ward of Copeland rely on benefits.

Similar figures are reported in the Barrow area, where the group says 46% are dependent on state hand-outs.

The charity says the county illustrates how areas, not traditionally regarded as deprived, have poverty problems.

There are next to no jobs and what there is offers very low pay
Copeland councillor Peter Tyson
Jonathan Stearn, the director of End Child Poverty, said: "We are talking about children who often don't have warm winter coats, weatherproof shoes and don't have three square meals a day.

"We know it's all about material deprivation as well. But we also know that these children get bullied at school, get isolated and don't fulfil their full potential.

"Cumbria illustrates the point that it's not actually the most deprived areas that have children living in poverty."

The charity wants the government to boost the minimum wage to alleviate the problems of low-paid, seasonal jobs, which forms a large part of Cumbria's economy.

Copeland councillor Peter Tyson, who represents the Sandwith ward, said: "It is well recognised that the Sandwith ward is a large unemployment area.

"There are next to no jobs and what there is offers very low pay."

As well as Sandwith, the charity also highlights the Moss Bay area of Allerdale, which it says has 45.8% of youngsters relying on state benefits and the Barrow Central ward, with 45.7% dependent upon the benefits system.

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