Piggy banks to help Portsmouth youngsters stave off poverty

Newbridge Junior School Picture: Maria Bujor

Children in Need: Junior School has a pretty perfect Pudsey plan

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PRIMARY school children will be issued with piggy banks to save pocket money at school.

Pupils as young as eight will be taught how to save as part of a bid to reduce the number of city residents who live below the poverty line.

Portsmouth City Council’s cabinet yesterday voted in favour of an Anti-Poverty Strategy, which includes financial advice from the cradle to the grave.

The city’s anti-poverty co-ordinator Kate Kennard said: ‘We want to make sure people aren’t trapped because they have too little information. We’d like sessions at junior schools, with piggy banks to teach children about saving, then more advanced sessions for school-leavers.’

Almost 10,000 of the city’s 35,857 young people – 27 per cent – are in poverty.

And 6,000 of the city’s 31,873 over-60s are also below the poverty line.

More than 13,000 of Portsmouth’s 131,476 16 to 60-year-olds fall into the category, with income of £164 per week or less for a single adult without children.

For a couple with no children, the poverty line is £244 a week. For a single person with two children aged 14 or less, it is £293, and for a couple with two children aged 14 or younger, the line is drawn at £374 per week.

The strategy will also work to identify families in need, prepare for government cuts, and improve training and employment opportunities.

Council leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson, said: ‘It’s vital. Poverty shortens people’s lives, and means younger people don’t achieve their potential.

‘We’re committed to working to stop poverty ruining people’s lives.’