Nearly a quarter of children in Worcester were living in poverty last year, new figures show.

Figures from the Department for Work and Pensions show 4,120 Worcester children aged under 16 were living in relative poverty in the year to March 2023.

It means 22.6 per cent of children in the area were living in a family whose income was below 60 per cent of average household income before housing costs. They also claimed child benefit and at least one other household benefit. 

This was up from 21.2 per cent the year before and the highest rate since comparable records began in 2014-15.

Of all the children facing poverty in Worcester, 1,109 were below school age.

Robin Walker MP said: "Over the course of this government we have increased the amount people earn by replacing the minimum wage as the lowest earners could earn in May 2010 of £5.80 with a National Living Wage which now stands at £10.42.

"We have also ensured the lowest paid keep more of the money they earn by almost doubling the personal tax allowance, so people don’t pay any income tax on the first £12,570 they earn.

"We have improved the life chances of young people by ensuring those in the least well-off areas receive more funding for education through the pupil premium.

"In 2018 we introduced the Holiday Activity and Food programme to provide healthy food and enriching activities to disadvantaged children outside of term time, making us the first government of any colour to do so.

"As the MP for Worcester I have always sought to ensure help is available for those who need it most, whether that’s through supporting a higher living wage, help through the welfare system, or access to affordable credit and a cap on payday lenders.

"I’m also proud that during my time youth employment has fallen and we have the lowest rate of young people not in education, employment or training.’

Across the UK, there were 2.5 million children living in low-income families before housing costs.

However, the number hit a record high and was nearly double after housing costs were considered, with 4.3 million children in relative poverty.

Tom Collins, who is Labour's prospective parliamentary candidate, said: "As a parent I find these local poverty figures heart-breaking.

"Families are worse off under this government and our children are paying the price.

"Children in Worcester should be thriving, able to enjoy life to the full. Labour has a plan to reduce bills, support families and break down the barriers to opportunity.

"This year’s General Election will be a chance for all of us to choose a better future for our children."