The figures, compiled by Save the Children, show that 1.6 million youngsters live in severe poverty, which the charity condemned as a "national scandal". The government's survey defines severe poverty as a household with half the average income – for a family of four this would be pay of less than £12,500 – and also suffering from material deprivation. For example, they might not be able to pay for repairs to appliances or afford insurance.
Save the Children says more than one in five children now lives in severe poverty in 29 areas of the country. The highest proportion – 27% – is in Manchester and the London borough of Tower Hamlets. More than 20% of children experience severe poverty in Birmingham and Liverpool. Wales has the highest proportion of children living in severe poverty (14%), followed by England with 13%, then Scotland and Northern Ireland which have 9% each.
Sally Copley, Save the Children's head of UK policy, said "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. No child should be born without a chance. It is a national scandal that 1.6 million children are growing up in severe poverty."