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Explore this topic in more detail (Child Poverty)

Explore this topic in more detail (Fuel Poverty)

Headline Data

Child Poverty

  • The most recent validated data on local levels of child poverty available is from 2015, when there were 7,720 or 19.4% of children in Gateshead in poverty (compared to 22.2% in 2014); the England average is 16.6% and the North East average is 21.5%. 2015 has seen the resumption of a downward trend in child poverty. Prior to 2014 child poverty had consistently reduced in Gateshead almost ever year from a high of 24.8% in 2007. 2014 saw an increase of 1.7 percentage points, but this has reduced by 2.8 percentage points in 2015. The Public Health Outcomes Framework tool provides a useful graphical display of the data, although it is updated less frequently [Chart - Child poverty]. The decrease in child poverty does not necessarily imply that the income of families has increased, rather the '60% of median' income threshold that is used to determine child poverty can vary from year to year. [1] Loughborough University has combined the 2014 version of the above child poverty measure with a national survey measure which looks at families with low incomes before and after housing costs using data from September 2017. The resulting measure estimated that at that time there may have been as many as 27.3% of children in poverty after housing costs are taken into consideration. [3]
  • In the past child poverty was considered to be an issue mainly affecting workless families. However, the official national measure of child poverty shows that nationally 67% of children in poverty live in households where at least one person is in employment (before housing costs). [2] This is thought to be linked to low wage levels, zero-hours contracts, part-time work, and other flexible labour market initiatives.
  • The Income Deprivation Affecting Children Index (IDACI) ranks Gateshead as 78th out of 326 local authorities in England (where 1 is the highest level of deprivation). [4] 28% (9,991) of dependent children aged 0-15 live within one of the 20% most deprived areas in England in terms of IDACI. [Interactive Map - IDACI 2015]
  • In addition to unemployment and low income, national research suggests that families are at greater risk of child poverty if they are a lone parent household, headed by someone from an ethnic minority (particularly from Pakistani or Bangladeshi origin), contain one or more disabled member, or are a larger family (i.e. 4+ children).
  • The wards that have a high proportion of children in poverty are clustered in or around the central area of Gateshead and include Felling (40.1%), Deckham (31.9%) and High Fell (31.2%). Small pockets of significant child poverty are evident in Old Fold, North Felling, Beacon Lough East, Springwell Estate and Sheriff Hill, where more than 4 in 10 children live in families below the poverty line. [1]Child Poverty
  • See also Children Gateshead - The Plan for Children, Young People and Families in Gateshead 2014-17 ; NE Child Poverty Commission Data


Fuel Poverty

  • Households living in fuel poverty are likely to find it difficult to afford the cost of staying warm in winter. Fuel poverty arises due to low income, poor heating systems, inadequate thermal insulation, and high fuel costs. Living in fuel poverty impacts upon physical and mental health and wellbeing and can lead to debt and financial difficulties.
  • In 2013, 10.9% (9,855) of households in Gateshead were deemed fuel poor, 0.5 percentage points higher than the England average [Chart - Fuel poverty]. By 2015, this rose to 12.7% (11,445) of households and is now 1.7 percentage points higher than the national average. The North East average stands at 13.3%! [5]
  • Building Research Establishment data from 2013 suggests that 3% of Gateshead’s housing stock was expected to fail the Housing Health and Safety Rating System due to excess cold. Most of the properties expected to fail are in the private stock.
  • Residents in some areas of Gateshead are more likely to live in fuel poverty than others. In 2015, fuel poverty in different Lower Super Output Areas (LSOA) in Gateshead ranged from 6.7% to 20.7% of households. Households in the Bensham area and parts of Chopwell have the highest levels of fuel poverty. [6]
  • Fuel poverty contributes towards excess winter mortality (ie. more people dying in the winter than the summer). Most of these excess deaths occur amongst people aged 75 and over. Respiratory diseases are the single largest cause of death. Not being able to heat your home adequately and infection with seasonal influenza are probably the two single main causes of excess winter mortality.
  • In the winter of 2015/16 there were 42 excess winter deaths in Gateshead. The Excess Winter Deaths Index shows that the ratio of excess winter deaths for every 100 deaths expected (based on the non-winter months) was 6 - in other words, there were 6% more deaths in the winter period compared to the non-winter period. This ratio compares to the England average of 15 [Chart - Excess winter deaths]. [7]Excess Winter Deaths

Welfare Reform and Austerity

  • It is estimated that £70 million per year will be lost from residents of Gateshead as a result of welfare reform, or £543 per working age adult per year. [8]
  • There is already evidence from other areas of the UK that welfare reform is having a negative impact on health. [9] [10] Numerous negative consequences of welfare reform have already been identified nationally, including: increasing reliance on food banks; increased need for welfare rights advice (at a time when provision is being affected itself by austerity); increased debt and use of ‘pay day loans’ or loan sharks; the breakdown of networks of resilience and loss of social capital; increased crime; increased pressure on social services; increases in rent arrears, evictions and homelessness; worsening educational outcomes; and increased domestic abuse and relationship breakdown.
  • The greatest loss of income is attributable to changes to the benefits of disabled people. It is estimated that over 70,000 people in the North East will be affected by the time limiting of contribution-based ESA and the stricter eligibility criteria applied to it and 33,000 people by the transition from Disability Living Allowance to Personal Independence Payments (PIPs). [8] Wards with higher numbers of people claiming disability benefits include Lobley Hill and Bensham, High Fell and Bridges. [11]
  • In Gateshead, nearly 2500 households are affected by the reduction of benefit for under occupancy. [12] This results in a loss of £14 per household for the first bedroom deemed to be underutilised, and £25 for the second underutilised bedroom. There has also been an increase in total arrears and use of discretionary housing payments.
  • In 2013/14, 359 tenants terminated their tenancy with the council social housing provider because of the reduction of benefit for under occupancy. [11] If people move to poor quality private rented housing, there would be negative consequences to their health. [13] [14] Relocation itself also results in people leaving valuable supportive family and community relationships which can protect health through the provision of material and emotional support.
  • There has been an increase in the use of food banks in Gateshead in recent years. Over the last year (Apr 2014 - Mar 2015), 1,811 vouchers were given out for Gateshead's foodbank, compared with 1,698 in more than 3 years previously (Jan 2011 to March 2014). [15] The main reasons that adults used a food bank during the last year were benefits delays (28%); low income (15%); benefits changes (13%), debt (13%), and child holiday meals (13%).
  • Gateshead Counselling Service (Tyneside Mind) had an increase in clients from 539 in 2010/11 to 1179 in 2012/13. [16]
  • An increase in incidents, crimes and referrals to services related to domestic violence in the past year has coincided with the implementation of welfare reform – see the section on Crime.

    [1] Personal Tax Credits Related Statistics, Children in Low-Income Families Local Measure  HMRC 2015 ( website)

    [2] Children in low income families - below 60% median (relative measure), Composition of low income groups of children data table 4_3db, Family Resources Survey, HBAI Report, DWP, 2015/16 ( website)

    [3] End Child Poverty – Map of the UK, Loughborough University Centre for Research in Social Policy, September 2017 (endchildpoverty website)

    [4] Income Deprivation Affecting Children Index (IDACI), DCLG 2015

    [5] Fuel Poverty, Department for Energy & Climate Change (DECC). Low Income, High Income, 2015 (PHOF website)

    [6] DECC, 2015 sub-regional fuel poverty data: low income high costs indicator, 2015 ( website)

    [7] Excess Winter Deaths Index, Aug 2015 - Jul 2016 (PHOF website)

    [8] Edwards P, et al. The Impact of Welfare Reform in the North East, November 2013 (northeastcouncils website)

    [9] McCartney G, et al. Making a bad situation worse? The impact of welfare reform and the economic recession on health and health inequalities in Scotland - baseline report, Edinburgh: NHS Health Scotland, 2013

    [10] Welsh Government, Analysing the impact of the UK Government’s welfare reforms in Wales: Stage 1 analysis, February 2012; Stage 2 analysis, February 2013 ( website)

    [11] Working Age Benefit Claimants - Statistical Group : Disabled, LSOA level data aggregated to wards, DWP, Nov 2014 (NOMIS website)

    [12] Welfare Reform Group - Gateshead, Measure Monitoring Report, May 2014

    [13] Marmot Review Team 2010, Fair Society, Healthy Lives: Strategic review of health inequalities in England post-2010 - The Marmot Review, London: Marmot Review Team

    [14] Wilkinson D. Poor Housing And Ill Health: A Summary Of Research Evidence. Edinburgh: Scottish Office Central Research Unit, 1999

    [15] Foodbank vouchers reports: Jan 2011 to Mar 2014; and Apr 2014 to Mar 2015, Gateshead Council

    [16] Report to Gateshead Health and Wellbeing Board: Impact of Austerity and Welfare Reform on Mental Health in Gateshead, 19th July 2013