Over 30,000 people in Bromley – around 10 per cent of the borough’s population – are living in poverty among the worst in England, according to figures.

The statistics were presented by the Community Care Protection Group (CCPG) at a full council meeting this month but a proposed investigation into deprivation was declined.

CCPG said its petition to see a ‘peppercorn rate’ introduced at Orpington Food Bank in Cotmandene Crescent, struggling to pay commercial fees set by the council, was also refused.

The Bromley Borough Food Bank could close is payments aren’t met. The organisation said last year over 6,000 adults and children relied on donations to survive.

At the discussion on Monday 21 CCPG also drew attention to statistics showing a “shocking social divide” between areas of Bromley.

The group says figures taken from government body Public Health England reveal of the 30,000 people living in poverty, 10,500 are children.

CCPG also reported a transcript from the conversation noting a response from Councillor Michael Tickner on the issues.

The Conservative member for the Copers Cope ward told them: “If food is given away a long queue is likely to form.

“I don’t think we’re killing people. I don’t think malnutrition is the main problem in Bromley – I think it’s obesity.

“We’re seeing today the issue is being high-jacked by socialist activist campaigners.”

CCPG secretary Sue Sulis says the council is being “callous, cold-hearted, and shameful” and does not understand why malnutrition, poverty, and deprivation are not being taken seriously.

She said some levels of hardship in Bromley is at ‘level 1’, some of the worst in the country, and feels its “affluent image” means problems are often ignored.

She told News Shopper: “I think they (council) are in denial about it. They don’t collect the figures for malnutrition and they then complain there’s no evidence for it.

“It’s an easy way out.”

Mrs Sulis said the difference between wards is also evident through variations in life expectancy.

A Joint Strategic Needs Assessment report in 2010 showed, on average, women in Petts Wood and Knole live to 86 – in Mottingham and Chislehurst however, the figure stands at 79.

Further research by a council policy, development and scrutiny committee in June said the health budget was under spent by £769,000 last year and has been transferred into a reserve.

A council spokesman responded: “When someone applies for help with such issues as housing benefit or council tax benefit we give them advice and guidance about claiming the other benefits they may be entitled to and refer them to the DWP or relevant government body.”