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More haredi children in Britain are living in poverty

JTA

April 5, 2011 | 10:39 am

A new report warns of a sharp rise in child poverty in Britain’s haredi Orthodox Jewish community.

The report says the rise in child poverty is due to the haredi community’s large families, lack of secular education and work skills, and cuts in both charitable giving and state social benefits.

The issue is “most acute” among the haredi community, where “the alarm bells should be ringing loudly,” according to the report, which was issued last week by the Institute for Jewish Policy Research in London.

“There is already clear evidence of poverty and deprivation in this community,” the report said. “The potentially toxic mix of a paucity of professional skills, a growing number of mouths to feed, a reduction in government support and a likely diminution of charitable donations all point towards the probability of a noteworthy increase in child poverty and deprivation in the coming years.”

The impact of this, it warned, “could do considerable damage” to the haredi community.

“Whilst the haredi community has a remarkable infrastructure of voluntary and professional social care, it remains highly questionable whether it will be able to provide sufficient support to meet a growing demand given the wider contemporary economic and political context,” the report said.

The report noted that the 2001United Kingdom census showed that in London’s Hackney borough, home to the largest haredi community, more than a quarter of Jews were living in overcrowded conditions.

The census indicated more than 52,000 Jewish children live in Britain. Overall, it showed that nearly 8 percent lived in overcrowded conditions and 8.5 percent lived in households where no adult was employed; more than one-fifth of these children lived in Hackney.

Outside the haredi community, instances of childhood poverty were “very low,” according to the report.

To combat the threat, according to the report, haredi men should be encouraged to “develop the skills they require to go out and find work.”

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