Nearly a fifth of children in the district are living in poverty, according to statistics released today.

The Campaign to End Child Poverty says 16 per cent of children in the Epping Forest district are living in families getting by on less than 60 per cent of the national median average income of about £26,500.

The figure is the same as the campaign group gives for Braintree and Welwyn Hatfield, Hertfordshire.

Norwich has the highest rate of child poverty in the east of England, according to the figures.

Enver Solomon, chairman of the campaign, said: “While the levels of deprivation in the east of England are not as high as other parts of the country, there are still far too many children whose parents are struggling to make a living.

“We’re calling on authorities to prioritise low-income families in the decisions they make about local welfare spending.”