Sunday, February 25, 2024

How bad is child poverty in Thurrock?

CHILD POVERTY is a controversial subject. Many people feel that unless they see children walking around in rags a la Dickensian London then there is no child poverty.

Child poverty is defined by the national child poverty indicator as the percentage of children who live in families in receipt of out-of-work benefits or in working families with income less than 60% of the median national income.

A fifth of Thurrock children are growing up in poverty, according to the official definition of child poverty. The vast majority of the 7,335 children affected are under the age of 11 and more than half are under the age of 5.

Thurrock is slightly below the national rate but higher than average for the East of England.

Figures for other ares are: Bethnal Green and Bow: 51%, Hackney South and Shoreditch: 45%, Tottenham 41%; Basildon: 23%, Harlow 22%, Southend 24%.

Child poverty exists everywhere in Thurrock but is most concentrated in the deprived parts of the borough. Just 6 of 20 Thurrock wards account for more than half of all children living in poverty.

Aveley and Upland 22%

Belhus 25%

Chadwell St Mary 29%

Chafford and North Stifford 11%

Grays Riverside 27%

Grays Thurrock 20%

Little Thurrock Blackshots 13%

Little Thurrock Rectory 11%

Ockendon 23%

South Chafford 9%

Stifford Clays 17%

Tilbury Riverside and Thurrock Park 38%

Tilbury St Chads 37%

West Thurrock and South Stifford 29%

Over the coming weeks, we will look at the issues surrounding child poverty. Tomorrow, we will see what both Labour and Conservative councillors receive in their postbag.


  1. I think Child Poverty is a misleading phrase. To have an impoverished child you must first have impoverished parents. I would assume that the majority of those stats quoted above relate to families that are on benefits and I would wonder how many of those were already on benefits before they had children. I would also want to know how many of those impoverished Children have parents that smoke and drink. I understand that we have to deal with the problem of the kids that are here but I don’t like the idea of spending any more taxpayers money on parents that wilfully had kids when they couldn’t afford them or continue to indulge in their drinking/smoking habits whilst their kids are going hungry or badly clothed. Because, in the end, this is where this is all leading isn’t it? Asking society to throw more money at a problem that has already had unimaginable amounts of cash chucked at it is not the answer. Getting feckless people to understand that kids are not the responsibility of the state and are not there solely to provide them with free money would be the way to go. And before anybody gets upset, I do know that not everybody covered by the stats are feckless benefits scroungers. Just a lot of them are.

  2. I agree with gray64 that Child Poverty is a misleading phrase. And the criteria for deciding which children are in poverty is also rather strange.

    Parents can be on a low income, and choose to spend money on things which don’t benefit the children; parents can also be on a “median” income or even a high one and choose to spend money on things which don’t benefit the children! If there is only one wage-earner, they may choose not to pass on enough money to the children and the parent who is the carer. The children in these families may be deprived, despite the relatively high earnings of the parents.

    If part of the definition of poverty is earning less than 60% of the median wage, doesn’t this mean that there will always be people “in poverty”. If the median wage goes up a lot (unlikely I know, but theoretically possible) the median will go up a lot and there will still be exactly the same number of people “in poverty”.

    A lot of people on benefits or on low wages are very good at managing what they have got, making sensible economies where they can, not wasting money, being resourceful – and they make sure that their children don’t “suffer” at all despite their parents earning below the median wage.


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