A new tackling poverty strategy will be shared with councillors next week. The plan looks at the whole issue of poverty, its causes and the long and short term solutions.
Cabinet members Cllr Viv Kendrick and Cllr Cathy Scott explain more about the plan below:
Cllr Kendrick said:
“The issue is huge, and if it is not properly tacked in a co-ordinated way, it becomes the ticking time bomb that we cannot afford to have to deal with in the future.
“Some of the solutions that will make a difference are as simple as making sure people know what they are entitled to. Others require a longer term change that is not in our own hands, and will need us to campaign for changes in legislation.”
The strategy looks at the practical help available for those who are currently suffering and – importantly – for those who are at risk of falling into difficulties.
Cllr Scott said:
“It concentrates mainly on the things we can influence and do as a local authority, and the most important part of it is the action plan
“We know household budgets are under massive pressure and any sudden changes to income or benefits can have a huge impact. We also know that many people in low to middle income bands are struggling with their finances. This is not about people who could be accused of not wanting to work – more than half of people experiencing poverty now live in working households.
“The figures are shocking. One in three households in Kirklees is in poverty – including 18,000 children – and a quarter of adults in the district say they worry about money.”
How are we tackling poverty?
- Developing a new credit union
- Helping people receive the money they are entitled to.
- Paying all council staff at least the living wage.
In the longer term we will be addressing the causes of poverty – by supporting people with education, employment, parenting and understanding basic finance.
Cllr Kendrick said:
“We are well aware that this is not an easy task, but if we can agree, as a whole council, policies that prevent people sliding into trouble while putting in place the building blocks that improve life chances, we will make steps towards escaping poverty in a sustainable way.”
The tackling poverty strategy will be discussed at full council on Wednesday 23 March.