Britain 'shamed by child poverty'

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Britain has one of the worst rates of child poverty in the industrialised world which is "shaming" this country, according to a new report today.

Around 3.6 million children, 28 per cent of the total, are living in poverty despite efforts by the Government to tackle the problem, campaigners said.

An event was held in York today by the End Child Poverty coalition aimed at highlighting the number of youngsters still living in poverty.

End Child Poverty director Jonathan Stearn said: "It is appalling that in Britain in 2005 there are children whose parents cannot afford even the basic necessities others take for granted, such as a warm winter coat and three meals a day.

"We are seeing a new determination to tackle poverty but it is vital that we keep up the pressure on the Government to stick to its pledge to eradicate poverty by 2020.

"Poverty shames a relatively wealthy country like ours and we have a duty to stamp it out."

Almost a third of children in Yorkshire and the Humber are living below the poverty line, according to the report.

Peter Allinson, director of Barnardo's Yorkshire, which supported today's event, said: "Poverty is still the greatest single threat to the well-being of children and families in the UK, even now 100 years on from the death of our founder Thomas Barnardo.

"It is shocking that over 30 per cent of children in Yorkshire and the Humber are still living in low-income households."

The coalition called for an increase in child benefit and the minimum wage and help for minority ethnic groups, the disabled and parents of disabled children to find work.