Report singles out part of Wisbech as being particularly hit by hard by child poverty - but concerns too for Littleport, Abbey in Cambridge and Cottenham

36.7 per cent of children in Waterlees, Wisbech live in poverty. Photograph modelled for The Children's Society | © Nick David

36.7 per cent of children in Waterlees, Wisbech live in poverty. Photograph modelled for The Children's Society | © Nick David

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Around 71,000 people in Cambridgeshire are living in poverty - including 14,500 children - with Wisbech singled out as one of the worst hit parts of the county.

Cambridgeshire County Council says it will now "strengthen families and communities" to tackle deprivation and understand the causes of it.

Around 250 households in Fenland are within the most deprived areas of the county, according to a report that went before councillors.

The report says the worst performer is Waterlees, Wisbech, where more than a third of children are classified as living in poverty closely followed by Abbey, Cambridge, where just under a third said to be below the poverty line. Littleport West also comes out badly at 22.6 per cent closely followed by Cottenham.

The number of working age people on out of work benefits in Cambridgeshire is 30,000, with high numbers appearing in areas of social housing and new developments.

"The social mobility index shows a significant gap in skills and income between different parts of Cambridge, which has led to it being labelled as the UK's most unequal city," says the report.

"Relatively low attainment in our schools for children on a low income (claiming free school means) features in parts of East Cambridgeshire and Fenland."

Key areas will now be tackled as part of the communities and partnership committee at the council to "improve outcomes and opportunities" for citizens.

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These include raising awareness, speaking with residents, understanding and addressing inequality within the communities and supporting parents and carers.

Sarah Ferguson, assistant director for housing, communities and youth, said: "Promoting long term economic growth benefiting everyone is a fundamental ingredient to tackling poverty and enhancing social mobility.

"Addressing worklessness by giving people opportunities to take a route into work, address low aspirations and help people with health problems to stay in work, are all key actions to enhance economic opportunity for our population."

Over the next year, the council has vowed to work alongside partners in all sectors to tackle poverty and disadvantage for future generations.

The council says it's 'think communities' scheme will be used to "build resilience" and "enable communities to determine their priorities".

Councillor Steve Criswell, chair of the communities and partnership committee, said: "This is our commitment to take action to widen access to good job opportunities and a better quality of life through help with finances, education and skills.

"In this way we can help break the intergenerational cycle of poverty across the county."

The report was discussed at a committee meeting at Shire Hall, Cambridge, on May 30.

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