SHOCKING figures have been released stating almost a quarter of children in Barnsley are living in poverty.

Mark Wood, of the council's Supporting People group, gave a presentation to the Church Action on Poverty in Barnsley meeting saying the figure was currently 24 per cent, rising to 47 per cent in parts of Thurnscoe.

He said deprivation was measured by levels of income, health and disability, education and skills, housing and crime. It meant choices between eating or paying the rent on occasions, he added.

Of the 24 per cent of children living in poverty, 20 per cent of those have one parent who is working.

He said more of those are working than not working.

In Barnsley, 40 per cent of workers are in unskilled, low paid jobs with very little job security.

At least one third of workers are in part-time jobs.

On top of the 24 per cent already living in poverty, 20 per cent are just one step away, and have no savings, no equity in their houses, can't cope on their current level of income or are struggling to feed themselves.

"There are 354 councils in the country and Barnsley is 43rd from the bottom," he said. "The cuts in Barnsley hit people twice as hard as the national average.

"There's a certain unfairness about this. People who have already hit are hit again."

He said there were also 10,000 elderly people who were also classed as living in poverty.

Between 2005-2010, the number of hard-pressed households in Barnsley had increased by as much as 34 per cent in some areas including Brierley, Grimethorpe, Wombwell, Worsbrough and parts of Thurnscoe.

Ian Guest, chief executive of the Credit Union, said: "The cost of living is going up but income is not keeping up with the cost of living and it's only going to get worse."