For years academics and social activists have been trying to come up with the definition of poverty. And depending on that definition figures vary wildly. What we do know is that by any definition, Salford's kids are the victims of some of the worst poverty in the UK.
The Save The Children charity today releases figures for what it calls "severe child poverty" and shows 1.6million children caught in this trap. While Manchester is the top of the national league with 27% of its kids living in deep poverty, Salford isn't far behind with 20%.
Severe child poverty is defined by Save The Children as a lone-parent family with one child aged under 14 living on an income of less than £7,000. Or a couple with two children under 14 living on less than £12,500.
"Children up and down the country are going to sleep at night in homes with no heating, without eating a proper meal and without proper school uniforms to put on in the morning" explains Sally Copley, Save the Children's head of UK policy "No child should be born without a chance. It is a national scandal that 1.6 million children are growing up in severe poverty.
"At present, the government has no official way to measure how many children are caught up in severe child poverty" she adds "or to estimate the impact of their policies on this most vulnerable section of the population."
Last July, Salford Council produced its own report on child poverty in the city (see here)and estimated the figure to be 60%, or 25,000 children in poverty, based on `workless households' – with earnings of £195 per week for a single adult with two dependent children under 14, or £279 per week for a couple with two dependent children under 14.
"It is unacceptable that the odds of having happy, healthy lives are stacked against any of our children" wrote Council Leader John Merry and Margaret Morris, Lead Member for Children's Services, in the intro to that report, calling for action to end child poverty in Salford.
The ConDem Government cuts to Salford Council's spending have targeted the most vulnerable people in the city, via its chopping of the Supporting People grant - and the affects of this, and other cuts, will surely make the severe poverty figures worse.
"If the government is to fulfil its commitments on child poverty, it must find a way of counting these children in greatest need" says Sally Copley "At the moment, these children are hidden from official view, and their plight unrecognised. If these children are to have a future, we must acknowledge their desperate need and urgently target government help towards them."
The Save The Children statement adds..."With increasing unemployment and cuts in welfare payments, Save the Children fear that even more children will be forced in to severe poverty in the coming months without urgent and concerted action."
For further details see Save The Children website: click here
For further details see Salford Child Poverty Scandal: click here
See also: A Nod and a Wink to Child Poverty in Salford: click here
See also: The Shocking State of Salford 2010: click here
Photo by Mike Cuddy