Poverty on our doorstep is being ignored, says Graham
“Of the 26,000 children living in my constituency almost 1 in 4 of them currently live in poverty.” said Graham Allen MP, for Nottingham North.
“Figures from today's report from The Children’s Society has given us these numbers which reaffirm what we already knew but what many choose to ignore – too many young people in Nottingham North are suffering the corrosive impacts of poverty every day
In most cases one of these children’s parents are in work, 4,991 of the estimated total of 6,440 children living in poverty in my patch. A move into work should be a move out of poverty, but this clearly isn’t the case for thousands in our area. Low pay, zero-hours contracts, freezes to essential benefits like universal credit have left these hard-working families in undeserved economic strife. No family should have to struggle like this, let alone a working one.
The best way to solve this problem is by intervening early. The older people are, the more difficult and more expensive it becomes to enact positive change in their lives, so the smart thing to do is act earlier when we can have a much bigger impact. But local government dependence on ever smaller handouts from Whitehall is hitting hard. In 2010, early intervention funding for Nottingham was over £22m, but last year it was only £10.5m.Unfashionable &neglected areas like Nottingham North need political imagination and adequate funding to begin turning things around, and all parties need to reassess their vision so they can be a part of the answer.
As the Children’s Society report rightly says, the introduction of Universal Credit has the potential to have a great impact on thousands of children and families across the constituency - if used well. In Nottingham North an estimated 18,780 children live in families who will receive Universal Credit, many of whom could benefit from the new simpler system. This new system has great potential to make things easier for those who really need it, but not if the Government continue to cut its scope before it’s even fully rolled out.
Sadly this is only some of the ways that central Government aren’t helping get our kids out of poverty, but if they won’t help us we should campaign to change the system so we can do more ourselves locally. We need to show we can run our own affairs better for example by persuading the new managers at Nottingham College keep the skills training in Health and Social Care at Basford Hall campus. Nottingham North is the most deprived constituency in the UK for skills and training, so losing important courses like this to the more fashionable part of the city is the last thing we need if we want to turn things around for future generations and their children. I’ve invited the Skills Minister, Robert Halfon, to see how important this is to our young people, so they get a fair share of education and skills resources that they deserve.”
The report can be viewed here:http://www.childrenssociety.link/localprofiles/Nottingham_North.pdf