A FIFTH of children in Barrow were living in poverty during the first full year of the coronavirus pandemic, figures show.

Child poverty charities warn that the Government's response to the cost of living crisis risks reversing the fall in the number of children living below the breadline across the UK.

Department for Work and Pensions data shows 2,107 children aged under 16 were living in families with low incomes in 2020-21 – an estimated 18 per cent of all youngsters in the area.

That was down from 20.1 per cent the year before, but more than the 17.3 per cent in 2014-15, when comparable figures were first published.

A family is defined as low income if it earns less than 60 per cent of the national median household income before housing costs are considered.

Families are included in the figures if they have claimed child benefits alongside other means of support, such as Universal Credit, tax credits, or housing benefits, at some point in the year.

Of the children aged 0-15 in poverty in Barrow last year, 740 (35%) were aged below five.

There were also 425 young people aged 16-19 in low-income families.

Meanwhile, the majority of youngsters aged 0-19, 59 per cent, were in working households.

Barrow councillor and Lead Member for Children, Young People and Families and Safeguarding Champion, Beverly Morgan said: "Children and young people in our community are going to school hungry, or wearing an old uniform, or missing out on activities.

"Family incomes are going down and people are having to make the difficult choice of food, clothing, or warmth.

"This government appears to hate dependency and thinks that people should be able to look after themselves, ignoring the fact that many families in poverty have one working parent yet still can’t afford the basics.

"It really is time for the government to rethink and rebalance by taxing the most affluent to narrow the gulf between the have’s and have not’s."