The Leicester Child Poverty Commission has today published its recommendations for tackling child poverty in the city. CPAG is a member of the Commission, which is chaired by Deputy Mayor, Cllr Rory Palmer.
The local newspaper, the Leicester Mercury, has published a news story and a supportive editorial about the report.
Leicester West MP Liz Kendall has written about the report on her website
Reproduced below is the foreword to the report written by CPAG Chief Executive, Alison Garnham.
FOREWORD TO LEICESTER CHILD POVERTY COMMISSION RECOMMENDATIONS REPORT
More than 26,000 Leicester children – over a third of those in the city – are growing up in poverty.
The evidence is absolutely clear that these children face greater disadvantages and fewer opportunities in childhood and in later life.
They are more likely to die at birth or in infancy than children born into richer families. They are more likely to be left behind in education. By the age of three, poorer children are estimated to be, on average, nine months behind children from more wealthy backgrounds. They are almost twice as likely to live in bad housing.
Children in poverty also miss out on experiences that most of us regard as normal and just part of growing up. They don’t go on school trips; can’t invite friends round for tea; and can’t afford a one-week holiday away from home.
Yet, despite all the evidence of the impact of poverty, and the searing experiences of the 1980s and 1990s when child poverty more than doubled, the poorest families have been the hardest hit by the government’s tax and benefit decisions. The Institute for Fiscal Studies projects child poverty to rise, as a result of these decisions, by 400,000 by 2015 and 800,000 by 2020.
A hugely damaging child poverty crisis is looming. Central government cuts to social security, to advice services and to local government funding – many of which have still to be implemented – mean that the next few years are likely to be years of genuine hardship for many Leicester families.
This is why Child Poverty Action Group was delighted to be asked to participate in the Leicester Child Poverty Commission. We see it as an opportunity to help families and children in the city but also to apply what we learn into our wider national work.
City Mayor Sir Peter Soulsby and Deputy City Mayor Rory Palmer deserve real credit for recognising and prioritising action on child poverty in these tough times and for taking this commitment forward in such an inclusive and accountable manner by establishing the Child Poverty Commission.
I witnessed for myself the passion and determination of the city’s public services, voluntary groups and business community for fighting child poverty at the hugely successful child poverty conference in May. It was from that event many of the wide-ranging recommendations in this report originate.
The recommendations are not just for the Mayor and Leicester City Council but also for national government, stakeholder groups in the city and for the Commission itself.
I am especially pleased the Commission regards the publication of its recommendations as the start of the next phase, not the end, of its work. These recommendations must serve as a spur and framework for action so that all children in Leicester have decent childhoods and no child is denied the opportunities in life others take for granted.
Child Poverty Action Group