Crayford single mum struggles amid new Erith and Thamesmead child poverty figures

News Shopper: Crayford mother-of-three Mel Hudson. Crayford mother-of-three Mel Hudson.

A SINGLE mother-of-three is struggling to make ends meet as new figures show a quarter of children in Erith and Thamesmead are living in poverty.

Mel Hudson lives with her children Lewis, 17, Kyra-May, 15, and Luke, 12, in Lincoln Road in Crayford’s North End ward, where 31 per cent of children are classified as living below the poverty line.

This is more than double the figure for Bexley borough as a whole where there are more than 8,000 youngsters in poverty according to a study by the End Child Poverty Campaign based on estimates for mid-2012.

Community outreach worker Miss Hudson says things have got worse since 2011, despite a nearly six per cent fall in recorded child poverty rates in North End.

The 38-year-old, who has an income of around £200 a week, said: "Every single penny goes in one hand and out the other hand.

"I don’t smoke or drink and we don’t go anywhere nice.

"How are people supposed to survive when food is going up and gas and electricity are going up?"

"You buy decent food the first two weeks of the month and after that you live off the last little bit of money that you have so you just cut back on everything.

"Once the money's gone, the money's gone."

The report puts Erith and Thamesmead above the national average of one in five children living in poverty.

The figures revealed disparities in poverty rates within the parliamentary constituency with 29 per cent of youngsters in Abbey Wood living in poverty compared to 13 per cent in Northumberland Heath.

The area is just outside the poorest 150 out of 650 parliamentary constituencies in the UK, topped by Manchester Central with 47 per cent of youngsters in poverty.

Erith and Thamesmead MP Teresa Pearce said she is "horrified" at the figures.

She said: "The government need to go back to its child poverty strategy and do more to make sure children’s lives are not blighted by hunger and the fact that many parents are unable to afford basic necessities like clothes and school equipment."

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