The Liverpool City Region Combined Authority has committed to working towards eradicating child poverty in the city region, highlighting the issue through the creation of a Standing Action Group on Poverty and Life Chances.
Research published earlier this year by the End Child Poverty coalition highlighted how poverty is on the rise in deprived areas and pointed to severe real-terms cuts in benefits, the roll-out of Universal Credit and rising housing costs as factors driving the rise.
The Liverpool City Region has been one of the areas of the country hardest hit by austerity, with its six local authorities’ budgets cut by nearly 50% since 2010.
The report also revealed that locally, one in three children are living in poverty, rising from one in four in 2014 – with communities such as Picton in Liverpool (where 49.9% of children are living in poverty) and Stockbridge Village in Knowsley (41.3%) particularly affected by child poverty.
The new Standing Action Group will build on the work of the Child Poverty and Life Chances Commission, established by the then City Region Cabinet in 2010, and will align its work with the Combined Authority’s Fairness and Social Justice Advisory Board, which measures all of the Combined Authority’s policies, services and economic initiatives against its commitment to deliver a fairer and more equal city region.
Speaking about the new body, Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, said:
“In the fifth richest country in the world it is shameful that one in three children in our city region grow up in poverty, whilst some communities are so blighted that almost every other child is living below the poverty line.
“During a decade-long programme of cuts we have seen child poverty rise year-on-year. This is betraying a generation of young people and we cannot allow this level of want to become normalised.
“Establishing this new Standing Action Group on Poverty and Life Chances inside our structures will enable us to work across our city region, challenging policies that hit the poorest in our society while developing alternative economic and investment strategies to improve the life chances of our children and young people and work towards eradicating the scourge of child poverty from the Liverpool City Region.
“On behalf of the Combined Authority, I’d like to thank the previous leadership of the Commission, and particularly its chair Frank Field, for their hard work over the last nine years. The new Standing Action Group will be building on strong foundations.”
The decision to reconstitute the Child Poverty and Life Chances Commission within the Combined Authority follows an independent review of FASJAB which also looked at how its work aligned with the Child Poverty and Life Chances Commission.
Embedding this work into Combined Authority structures by establishing a Standing Action Group on Poverty and Life Chances will ensure issues of poverty and life chances are at the heart of decision-making and that all of the Combined Authority’s work takes account of the impact of its decisions on the most vulnerable in our society.