This is the highest rate of child poverty out of all of the 67 local government areas in south east England. Hasting was second highest with a child poverty rate of 32%; Southampton was third with 29.9%; Dover fourth at 29.9%; Shepway fifth at 29.4% and Portsmouth sixth at 28.9%. The figures show that 18 out of 23 electoral wards in Thanet have child poverty rates of over 20% indicating the depth and spread of this problem. The 5 Thanet wards with the highest rates of child poverty are Cliftonville West 48.49%; Margate Central 47.57%; Newington 43.97% Eastcliff 43.49% Dane Valley 42.98%.
Said Driver “these deplorable and shameful statistic should be a wake-up call to Thanet and Kent County councils and Central Government. They must work together to develop plans to regenerate Thanet and tackle once and for all the deep seated economic malaise which has blighted the district for two generations. It’s totally unacceptable that one third of our children are being brought up in poverty. Poverty is a well-known cause of educational under achievement and reduced life chances. Our politicians, civil servants and public services cannot stand by and allow 11,500 children to have their futures blighted through no fault of their own”.
He went on say that “Central Government should make available extra funds for major infrastructure investment in Thanet including the reduction of HS1 journey times to London to less than an hour; the transformation of Ramsgate’s port and seafront into a leisure focused visitor destination with a modern 21st century marina. We also need to support the development of the former Manston Airport site into a thriving commercial and industrial park and the further expansion and growth of the ex-Pfizer site at Discovery Park as a home for high-tech companies. Last but least the Government should designate Thanet as an Enterprise Zone, allocate funding for several thousands of desperately needed affordable rent council homes in the district. These measures will encourage business to invest in Thanet and create decent, well paid, paid jobs Thanet so urgently needs and which will help to reduce and eliminate the appalling situation of one third of our children living poverty”