Almost one in four children in north ‘live in poverty', campaigners warn
ALMOST one in four children in Northern Ireland live in poverty, campaigners have warned.
North and west Belfast and Derry are among the hardest hit areas, according to research from the End Child Poverty coalition.
Around a third of children live in penury in those areas.
Peter Bryson, spokesman for the lobby group, said: "Our children are now twice as likely to be poor as our pensioners."
The report said 24 per cent of children in Northern Ireland live in poverty and the problem is forecast to increase.
The coalition, which includes the Save the Children charity, urged the Stormont executive to prioritise the matter as it finalises its planning for government.
Mr Bryson added: "This shocking map of poverty across Northern Ireland demonstrates just how widely and deeply child poverty reaches into our communities.
"In each and every constituency in Northern Ireland, there are children being denied the happy childhoods and the good start in life other children take for granted."
The organisation published new figures providing a child poverty map of Northern Ireland.
End Child Poverty is calling on the UK government to use the upcoming autumn statement to end the freeze on children's benefits and to reverse the sharp cuts being introduced to in-work benefits under universal credit.
The coalition of campaigners warned that the current benefits freeze means that as prices rise, low-income families find it increasingly hard to pay for basic essentials at the same time as cuts to universal credit are pushing more working families below the poverty line.
"We urge the executive to protect the poorest children from the effect of cuts to household income and support all local areas to end child poverty once and for all," the coalition said.
"The executive should prioritise tackling child poverty across all departments to allow the poorest children to have the best start in life, as promised by the Programme for Government."