ALMOST a quarter of all children in Barnsley - more than 10,000 kids - were living in poverty last year, new figures have revealed.

Children’s charity Barnardo’s said youngsters ‘can’t be happy and healthy if they are going to bed in a cold home, on an empty stomach’.

Figures from the Department for Work and Pensions show 10,121 Barnsley children aged under 16 were living in relative poverty in the year to March 2023.

It meant 22.4 per cent of children in the area were in a family whose income was below 60 per cent of average household income before housing costs.

They also claimed child benefit and at least one other household benefit.

This was up from 21.3 per cent the year before and higher than the UK rate of 20.1 per cent.

Of all the children facing poverty in Barnsley, 3,331 were below school age.

Lynn Perry MBE, chief executive of Barnardo’s, said: “Living in poverty means children miss out on opportunities and the activities that make childhood fun and support their development.

“The government needs to urgently focus on reducing child poverty.

“That should start with a strategy for ending child poverty, including ending the two-child limit ‘sibling penalty’ on benefit payments and ensuring struggling families can afford essentials like food and household bills.”

Across the UK, there were 2.5 million children living in low-income families before housing costs.

However, the number hit a record high and was nearly double after housing costs were considered, with 4.3 million children in relative poverty.

Alison Garnham, chief executive of the Child Poverty Action Group, said: “In a general election year, nothing should be more important to our political leaders than making things better for the country’s poorest kids.

“We know that change is possible, but we need to see a commitment from all parties to scrap the two-child limit and increase child benefits.

“Anything less would be a betrayal of Britain’s children.”

Overall, there were 237,214 children experiencing poverty across Yorkshire and The Humber last year, who accounted for 23.1 per cent of all children in the region.

Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Mel Stride said: “I know the last few years have been tough, with the aftershocks of Covid and the war of Ukraine driving up inflation and cost of living pressures.

“That’s exactly why we stepped in with the biggest cost of living package in Europe, worth an average of £3,800 per household, and this unprecedented support prevented 1.3 million people from falling into poverty in 2022-23.

“We’re also going further in April, by uprating benefits and pensions to support millions of people on the lowest incomes and extending the Household Support Fund to provide vital support for those most in need.”

Barnsley Central MP Dan Jarvis told the Chronicle: “The fact that more than 10,000 children in Barnsley are living in poverty is nothing short of a scandal.( ( “Growing up in poverty means you are more likely to fall behind in school, less likely to secure a stable job in the future, and more likely to suffer from ill health in later life.

“It is precisely why I introduced a Bill in Parliament to reduce child poverty.

“The Conservative government talked it out.

( “The last Labour government took matters like this incredibly seriously and lifted millions out of poverty - we desperately need another government with that same moral purpose.”