Presentation on theme: "Child Poverty the West Cumbria Picture Willie Slavin Chair Howgill Family Centre Chair West Cumbria Child Poverty Action Group."— Presentation transcript:
Child Poverty the West Cumbria Picture Willie Slavin Chair Howgill Family Centre Chair West Cumbria Child Poverty Action Group
West Cumbria Child Poverty Action Group 2009 Jamie Reed MP voiced his concerns about Child Poverty in the House and followed this up with Howgill. Later that year a conference was held in Whitehaven which attracted strong support across the community A report was published which assessed the situation, identified key issues and offered a series of recommendations the conference re-convened on 15th February and an updated report is in preparation – a work in progress.
One of those recommendations in the original report was: We develop our understanding of the way in which some families, groups, and communities can be resistant to the usual debilitating consequences of poverty; what assets or attributes make them so resilient; what we can learn from them. This is where the seed for this symposium was planted.
Child Poverty a definition from Professor Peter Townsend: Individuals, families and groups in the population can be said to be in poverty when they lack the resources to obtain the types of diet, participate in the activities, and have the living conditions and amenities which are customary, or are at least widely encouraged and approved, in the societies in which they belong. A widely-used measure of poverty is where household income is below 60 per cent of the median UK income after housing costs have been paid.
The Key Factors The key factors having an effect on child poverty identified in the report are those relating to contextual and process factors which are not within the control of the providers of Childrens Services; they are to do with: the structure of the economy and of the opportunity structure it engenders the nature of the housing, transport and built environment infrastructure; the extent to which Child Poverty is a consideration in developing economic well-being programmes; the extent to which the framers of other policies and programmes consider their impact on child poverty.
A significant feature behind child poverty in West Cumbria is the level of inequality that emerges from an examination of earnings across Allerdale and Copeland. I offer this information simply to highlight an important factor requiring consideration by policy makers.
YearMale (ft and pt) AllerdaleCopelandG Britain YearFemale (ft and pt) AllerdaleCopelandG Britain
Year All full time only AllerdaleCopelandG Britain Men in Copeland on average earn more than the national average wage while women earn less.
The Changing Situation The Governments objectives in Welfare Reform creating the right incentives to get more people into work protecting the most vulnerable in our society delivering fairness to those claiming benefit and to the taxpayer
Context Currently 42,650 working age people in Cumbria claiming benefit Employment Support Allowance and Incapacity Benefit re-assessment – 40% in 6 month period fit to work By 2014,7700 additional people joining the labour market April to Sept CC grants awarded (£431,200) and £199,300 of crisis loans More than 30,000 households have income less than £10k - increased by 10,000 since 2009
Key issues for Young People & Families Households with children likely to experience multiple changes – may need to re-adjust household budgets/ may be challenges for households already experiencing debt Eligibility for services may change – Free School Meals or school transport Young people transferring from childrens services to adult services may be vulnerable as may not be suitable housing to meet their needs More working age adults with children being encouraged to seek work Potential increase in demand for childcare and support services for families
Local issues for Young People & Families Youth unemployment already above national levels in Allerdale and Copeland – increased competition as more people looking for work Whitehaven has high levels of NEET In Cumbria 46,000 families are in receipt of child or working tax credits – Allerdale has high numbers of claimants Existing levels of deprivation, financial exclusion, child poverty and fuel poverty in the area Changes to services/ pressure on existing services
Allerdale 6000 households with income less than £10, households in fuel poverty 2000 claiming JSA Youth unemployment 9200 claiming tax credits Out of work benefit claimants above county and national average 3444 children living in poverty
Copeland 4300 households with income less than £10, households in fuel poverty 1635 claiming JSA Youth unemployment 5700 claiming tax credits Out of work benefit claimants above county and national average 2515 children living in poverty
Allerdale% Children in Poverty Copeland% Children in Poverty Ellenborough20%Arlecdon5% Ewanrigg34%Beckermet14% Flimby28%Bransty7% HarringtonBelow 5%Cleator Moor N21% Holme21%Cleator Moor S28% Keswick9%Distington24% Moorclose32%Egremont N24% Moss Bay37%Egremont S14% Netherhall15%Frizington22% St Michaels22%HillcrestBelow 5% Silloth20%Mirehouse34% Solway11%St BeesBelow 5% Wigton16%Sandwith41%
For those who are tempted to ascribe to the skiver and shirker view of the impoverished, I recommend: The lies we tell ourselves: ending comfortable myths about poverty – Truth and lies about poverty A report published by the Baptist, Methodist, United Reformed Churches and the Church of Scotland. Feb 2013.
We cannot fully respond to the challenge of eradicating exclusion and poverty if the poor are an object, the target of paternalistic and charitable action by the state and other organisations, and not subjects, for whom the state and society create conditions that promote and protect their rights and allow them to build their own future. JMB