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Report attacks UK poverty

One in ten children in the UK is living in 'severe' poverty, a new report has claimed.Save the Children said it was "an outrage" that children from such a wealthy country were living in families that could not afford to meet basic needs such as living in a warm house, having an adequate diet or going on school trips.Under a new measure which combines household incomes with adult and child deprivation, the charity estimates that 1.3 million youngsters in Britain are living in severe poverty.Its report warns that such children, who represent 10.2 per cent of the population, are living in families who survive on an income which averages just £7,000 a year.That compares to the average national income of £19,000 a year.Save the Children said that as a result, families in severe poverty had just £19 a day to cover the cost of electricity and gas, phones, food, clothes, washing, transport, health needs and activities for their children and other essential items.Of those families living in severe poverty, 84 per cent cannot afford to make regular savings of £10 or more per month, while 74 per cent cannot replace any worn out furniture, the charity warned.London was found by researchers to be the region with the highest levels of severe poverty, with more than one in six children in the capital estimated to be affected.Publishing its report ahead of Gordon Brown's appointment as prime minister next week, Save the Children argues that while combating the problem has been one of the chancellor's flagship policies the government is currently set to miss its target to halve child poverty by 2010.It is now campaigning for ministers to take further action to ensure that the goal is met, including calling for an additional £4 billion of government funding to be made available for the fight against deprivation.A foreword to the charity's report by former Low Pay Commission chair Adair Turner warns: "The government have taken important steps to target child poverty, but more action is needed, particularly to help those facing the most severe deprivation."Responding to the study the Conservative party said the report was an "appalling indictment" of the chancellor's record on social justice."The sticking plaster approach - tackling the symptoms of poverty but failing to deal with its long-term causes - has clearly failed," said shadow work and pensions secretary Philip Hammond."We need a completely new approach, based on social responsibility that addresses the root causes of poverty," he added.

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