Weston’s poverty problems create debate on social media

PUBLISHED: 11:00 20 February 2018

Almost 6,000 Weston children live in poverty.

Almost 6,000 Weston children live in poverty.

Archant

Westonians believe wiser spending is the key to avoiding poverty after it was revealed almost 6,000 children in the town live on the breadline.

Figures collated by the End Child Poverty (ECP) coalition reveal 5,800 children in the Weston-super-Mare parliamentary constituency live in poverty, after housing costs, as families feel the squeeze of tax hikes and benefit freezes.

A quarter of children across the town live in financially-challenged homes, with more than 1,300 youngsters, equalling 43 per cent, growing up below the poverty line in South ward.

A third of children in Central ward live in deprivation, but in more affluent areas, like Nailsea and Portishead, as few as one in 20 children are raised poverty.

ECP Chairman Dr Sam Royston believes ‘no family in modern Britain should be struggling to put food on the table, heat their homes and clothe their children’.

Many people took to social media to share their view.

Mandy Gee commented: “As someone who grew up on council estates, had free school meals and financial help to pay for trips, I think education is key to success.

“My teachers opened a window into a new world. They inspired me to study and to travel.”

Tim Clarke said: “Yet North Somerset Council is looking to hike council tax up and we have to pay to park in a small town. Also no overnight A&E puts these kids at risk.”

Tim Ryan wrote: “Maybe the council could encourage industry here to give these people jobs and hopes so they can lift themselves out of poverty instead of building more and more houses.”

Dilys Walkley commented: “Money should be spent on necessary things like housing, clothing and food, not cigarettes, beer, piercings, tattoos.”

Graham Morrissey wrote: “Teach them how to live economically and that food is more important than broadband, mobile phones and satellite TV.”

Richard Taylor said: “Benefits should be paid in vouchers that can only be exchanged for necessities rather than alcohol, tobacco or Sky TV.”

To join the discussion, visit www.facebook.com/wsmercury or www.twitter.com/wsmercury

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