BRADFORD has some of the highest levels of child poverty in the country, according to new data.

The figures for 2017/18, released by the End Child Poverty coalition, show a worrying 35.2 per cent of children (54,614) in Bradford are living in poverty, before housing costs.

Bradford West and Bradford East are highlighted as two of the 25 constituencies in Britain with the highest levels of child poverty. The figures, after housing costs, stand at 50.9 per cent (17,853 children) for Bradford West and 46.7 per cent (20,674) for Bradford East

Imran Hussain, Labour MP for Bradford East, said children have needlessly suffered as a result of the Conservative party's "pet project of austerity".

Bradford Council leader Susan Hinchcliffe said of the figures: “It’s a tragedy for any child to grow up in poverty and as a country we should be doing everything possible to eradicate it. But after almost a decade of government cuts, many families across the country are struggling, with the data showing that UK child poverty has increased since 2010. In Bradford we are doing a lot of work with partner organisations to boost incomes, support families and build a more vibrant and fairer economy locally with opportunities for all and we are making progress in important areas.

"But it is a significant challenge and it’s true that we need to see concerted action nationally on this issue and an end to harmful austerity once and for all.”

Bradford West Labour MP Naz Shah said the figures were indicative of a “failed austerity policy”.

She said: “When Government says it invests so much - if you take with one hand and only give back with one hand, that’s not investment, that’s still a cut.”

Imran Hussain (Labour MP for Bradford East) said the figure are "yet another damning indictment of this Government's austerity ideology that I have repeatedly warned against in Parliament".

He added:"Year-on-year we have been subjected to the Tories' pet project of austerity, causing children to needlessly suffer. Homelessness is rising, foodbank usage is soaring, children are suffering, but this Tory Government refuses to act on every occasion. Instead they turn a blind eye, failing the children of Bradford, and it is time to deliver a truly ambitious agenda to lift children out of deprivation, not drag them into poverty."

But a Government spokesperson said the study is based on estimates rather than "actual measurements of income".

"Children growing up in working households are five times less likely to be in relative poverty, which is why we are supporting families to improve their lives through work," the spokesperson said.

"And statistics show employment is at a joint record high, wages are outstripping inflation and income inequality and absolute poverty are lower than in 2010.

“But we recognise some families need more support. That is why we continue to spend £95 billion a year on working-age benefits and provide free school meals to more than one million of the country’s most disadvantaged children to ensure every child has the best start in life.”