Councils collaborate to tackle child poverty in Liverpool

Janaki Mahadevan
Monday, February 13, 2012

A third of children in Liverpool are growing up in poverty according to the city's child poverty and life chances commission.

Ramsey and Field at the launch of the strategy. Image: Knowsley Council
Ramsey and Field at the launch of the strategy. Image: Knowsley Council

According to the commission, as many as 91,000 children are blighted by poverty with 17,000 families surviving on less than £108 per week.

In a strategy launched alongside the statistics, the commission has made 85 recommendations, which include working with the government to boost the numbers of midwives and health visitors, and making sure Jobcentre Plus and similar organisations focus on the needs of parents.

Six councils have signed up to the Liverpool City Region strategy – Halton, Knowsley, Liverpool, Sefton, St. Helens, and Wirral.

MP Frank Field, chair of the Liverpool City Region Child Poverty and Life Chances Commission, said: "Six local authorities and their partners have come together with the single aim of spending their existing budgets more effectively. We will achieve this objective by adopting the practices of whatever activity has proved to be the most effective approach in its outcomes on decreasing poverty and increasing life chances.

"Our approach is to bring together organisations across the city region to work collectively to help parents to bring about real change in their families. This is the most important activity the city region and country could undertake if it is sincere in its wish to improve the life chances of children."

Among the recommendations are proposals for GPs to improve vaccination rates among all families, putting more pressure on schools to raise the achievements of children on free school meals and encouraging children’s centres to reach all families, not just those that attend their sessions.

It is also suggested that a 50p minimum unit price for alcohol is imposed to reduce the effect of drinking on family life.

The report also suggests working with childcare providers to ensure there is a balance between supply, demand and quality of provision.

Sheena Ramsey, chief executive of Knowsley Council, the city region’s lead authority on child poverty, said: "The launch of the strategy signals the start of real change for children and young people across the city region.

"We want to ensure that every family in the city region maximises their income. We will make sure organisations that help people into work focus on the needs of parents and that families know about the wide range of services available in their local area."

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