AS MANY as four in ten children are living in poverty in four wards across Gwent, a charity has claimed.

The Campaign to End Child Poverty campaign said over 40 per cent of children in Pill and Bettws in Newport, in Cefn Fforest in Caerphilly and Castle in Monmouthshire were living in poverty after housing costs were taken into account.

Three other Newport city council wards follow – with 39.89 per cent of children in Victoria included, 39.33 per cent in Tredegar Park and 39.15 per cent in Ringland.

Anyone living on less than 60 per cent of median income housing costs is calculated as living in poverty, the charity said.

But in Gwent it is most prevalent across Blaenau Gwent county borough, where on average 30.23 per cent of children are living in poverty – the highest rate in Wales, just ahead of Cardiff.

Newport follows with 28.68 per cent of children; Caerphilly is next with 28.08 per cent; Torfaen is fourth in Gwent with 27.58 per cent; and Monmouthshire has the lowest rate of child poverty with 18.15 per cent of children in that category.

The data was taken from October to December last year.

The chairman of End Child Poverty David Holmes said: “These figures reveal just how widely and deeply child poverty reaches into our communities, even those areas generally regarded as well off. “Far too many children whose parents are struggling to make a living are suffering as a result and missing out on the essentials of a decent childhood that all young people should be entitled to. We can and must do better for our children.”

And Torfaen council’s anti-poverty champion, Cllr Richard Clark, said: “This is a complex issue and one that the council takes seriously.

“The relationships between child poverty and poorer outcomes in later life are well documented, but despite council support child poverty is generally determined by employment and the cost of living.

“Given the massive strain on public finances in the wake of austerity cuts, the council is increasingly working with local partners to help families who may be experiencing poverty.”

Monmouthshire council leader Cllr Peter Fox said: “I draw little comfort from national statistics that again show Monmouthshire has a lower percentage of children living in poverty than any other county in Wales. However, one child living in poverty is one too many. Child poverty in Wales is a national disgrace. The Labour Wales Government continues to pour hundreds of millions of pounds into poorly designed, untargeted schemes that are failing children.”

But the leader of the Labour group on the authority said, Cllr Dimitri Batrouni, said: “The Tory-led council have a miserable record tackling this issue, and have sought to make matters worse by cutting services for children at every given opportunity – the post 16 Special Educational Needs transport cut being the most recent.”