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Half of all children in Kilburn live in poverty

PUBLISHED: 12:14 26 March 2011

Mum Penny Leichti says that the alarming rates of child poverty in Kilburn supports her campaign to keep acol children's centre open

Mum Penny Leichti says that the alarming rates of child poverty in Kilburn supports her campaign to keep acol children's centre open

Archant

The alarming statistics show that Kilburn has one of the highest child poverty figures in North West London

Around half of all children in Kilburn are living in poverty, according to shocking new statistics.

The figures, put together by the End Child Poverty Action campaign, show the majority of families in Kilburn are struggling to make ends meet, while rising unemployment rates and pubic spending cuts are expected to swell the number further.

Kilburn is split between three boroughs – Brent, Camden and Westminster – and in all three wards child poverty is higher than the borough average.

In Kilburn, Camden, 54 per cent of children live in poverty – the highest in the borough. While over the border in Brent’s Kilburn the figure is 43 per cent compared with a borough average of 35 per cent.

And in Queen’s Park, Westminster, in South Kilburn, 57 per cent of children live in poverty.

The alarming figures come as parents’ anger mounts at Camden Council’s plans to close the Acol children’s centre in Acol Road, Kilburn, which was set up to provide cheap childcare and support to deprived families.

Penny Liechti, 38, of Solent Rd, Kilburn, whose 2-year-old daughter Eva goes to Acol’s nursery, warned that if the centre shuts, more families will become ‘stuck’ in a cycle of poverty.

She said: “These figures support what we have been saying all along – Kilburn is a locality in need of a centre because of the very high levels of deprivation.

“You cannot look for work when you haven’t got someone to look after your child.”

Cllr Heather Johnson, Camden Council’s lead member for children, refuted accusations that the new figures showed that the council had made a mistake in choosing to shut Acol.

She said: “If we have to close Acol we will be targeting the most deprived families in Kilburn to make sure they have affordable childcare.

“I suspect that we are not reaching all the families that need our services. I am sure we are reaching a large number of them, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised if there are families falling through. Those are the families we want to target.”

The report classifies children as being in poverty if they live in families receiving benefits where their income is less than 60 per cent of the average.

Research shows that poor children are born too small, and are more likely to suffer from ill health, fall behind at school and leave at 16 with fewer qualifications.

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