MORE than half of children in a deprived part of Kidderminster are growing up in poverty, shocking new figures show.

Statistics released by the End Child Poverty coalition show that 54% of children in Oldington and Foley Park are living in poverty, once housing costs such as mortgages and rent are taken into account.

Worryingly, the Wyre Forest tops the figures for Worcestershire, with 34% of children across the district living under conditions of financial hardship.

Neighbouring Bromsgrove, for example, comes in at 22%.

More than a third of children are living in poverty in eight of the 17 Wyre Forest electoral wards.

In addition to Oldington and Foley Park, poverty levels are also high in Areley Kings (42%), Offmore and Comberton (39%) and Broadwaters (39%).

Sutton Park (37%), Greenhill (34%), Habberley and Blakebrook (33%) and Aggborough and Spennells (33%) also have a third or more of children being raised in poverty.

Anti-poverty campaigners say they want the issue to be eradicated completely.

Thomas Lawson, Chief Executive at poverty charity Turn2us, said: “It is simply unacceptable that, in some constituencies, half of our children are trapped in poverty.

“Poverty means hunger – and children and young people unable to concentrate in school.

"It means being bullied for dirty clothes your family can’t afford to wash. It means sleeping with your family in rooms designed for one in hostels and temporary accommodation. It’s no childhood.

“The growth in child poverty shows no sign of slowing down and if the Government is serious about fixing this they must respond to these statistics with an ambitious child poverty reduction strategy."

The End Child Poverty coalition, which released the figures after research at Loughborough University, says child poverty is becoming the ‘new normal’ in parts of Britain.

Anna Feuchtwang, coalition chair, said: "We know what causes child poverty and we know how to end it.

"We know that the income of less well-off families has been hit by severe real-terms cuts in benefits and by higher housing costs.

"And we know that work alone does not guarantee a route out of poverty, with two thirds of child poverty occurring in working families.

‘Yet in many areas growing up in poverty is not the exception it’s the rule with more children expected to get swept up in poverty in the coming years, with serious consequences for their life chances."