NEARLY ONE in five children in the St Austell area are living below the poverty line, new figures have revealed.
The End Child Poverty campaign group releases the statistics for the St Austell and Clay Country areas this week.
According to the stats, 18.2 per cent of children in the town were in poverty – compared to the Cornwall average of 18.6 pre cent.
Crinnis (Carlyon Bay, Duporth and Tregrehan) boasted the lowest statistic at just 9 per cent but Treverbyn was the hardest hit ward with 24 per cent. This means 298 out of 1,266 children there are estimated to be living in poverty, defined by relative low household income and material deprivation.
The resounding opinion among local councillors was that house prices could be responsible for the significant variation in figures across the St Austell area.
Christopher Rowe, Cornwall councillor for Penwithick and Treverbyn Parish councillor, said: "Penwithick has the highest percentage of social housing possibly in the Clay Country area and Penwithick Park is along the cheapest set of houses.
"Social behaviour is our biggest problem on social housing estates and we are always going to have problems with it. With the police getting less and less (funding), we are getting more and more problems.
"We run a youth club, have football pitches and allotments. There is very little more we can do.
"I just hope as they get older we can breed it out of them."
St Austell Bay Cornwall Councillor John Oxenham attributed Crinnis's comparatively low figures to the high cost of property and lack of social housing.
"There might well be a lower than average number of children living here too, as we have a higher-than-average number of older residents and retired residents," he continued.
Figures showed there are only 301 children living in the Crinnis area, and 26 of them are living in poverty.