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Disabled child poverty 'staggering'

The Government is facing increased pressure to "rethink" planned welfare reforms after a leading children's charity published new figures claiming four in 10 disabled children are living in poverty.

A "staggering" 320,000 of the 800,000 disabled children in the UK live in poverty - 110,000 of these in severe poverty - over 30,000 more than previously estimated, the Children's Society said.

Where a disabled child was in a household with a disabled adult, the figure for those living in poverty rose to 49%, according to the analysis by the charity.

The Children's Society said the statistics had been calculated by removing the Disability Living Allowance paid to families to reflect the additional costs of bringing up disabled children.

Once this allowance was taken into account, child poverty rates among disabled children increased from 36% to 40% - 10% above the rate for all children - and the equivalent of four in every 10 of disabled children, it said.

The charity said it was urging the Government to "rethink" welfare reforms, which it said would mean more than 100,000 disabled children losing up to £27 a week following the introduction of the new Universal Credit.

The proposals, part of the Welfare Reform Bill, are currently being steered through the Houses of Parliament.

Bob Reitemeier, chief executive of The Children's Society said: "These findings are staggering and very worrying. It is essential that the Government does not cut rates of support for disabled children under the Universal Credit."

A Department for Work and Pensions spokeswoman said: "The Government will continue to spend over £40 billion on supporting disabled people.

"Our radical welfare reforms will benefit the poorest in society and target support at those who need it most to make work pay and break the benefits trap."


From Belfast Telegraph