Today Cllr John Cotton and I published Birmingham Labour’s hard-hitting report into the growing scandal of child poverty in the city.
The evidence is set out in the final report of the Birmingham Labour Child Poverty review which has investigated the issue over the last six months – to read the report click here
The review found:
• A huge 20 per cent rise over the last year in children arriving in the city's A&E departments, having self-harmed
• A 40 per cent rise in child self-harm cases in A&E since 2009/2010.
• Nearly a third of the city's children - 84,114 - now live in poverty in Birmingham
• Birmingham's child poverty now costs an estimated £914 million in extra services such as education, healthcare and benefits, as well as, lost tax receipts and lost earnings
The report’s main recommendation has led to plans for a new Child Poverty Commission for the city to coordinate action to support parents.
Liam Byrne said;
‘The scandal of child poverty in our city is a moral crisis and we simply refuse to stand by and do nothing. The child poverty crisis may now have triggered a huge increase in the number of our children so desperate that they try and take their own lives or self-harm.
This report is a wake-up call for Birmingham and for Britain. We may not have a government that cares but we can still take action ourselves.
Our new Child Poverty Commission must now call to action our business leaders, our teachers, NHS and the DWP to act together to make a difference. We cannot pretend this isn't happening in our community.
We have to declare now that we will act together to end this scandal.’
John Cotton said:
"The fact that a third of Birmingham's kids are growing up below the poverty line isn't just a moral outrage, it's an act of social and economic sabotage.
Continuing to tolerate a situation in which another generation is trapped in poverty, unemployment or low paid, insecure work doesn't just hold back individuals, it holds back our city as a whole.
We can - and must - do more to fight poverty in all its forms".
Tim Evans, co-author of the report, said:
“The best policies are made when we listen. As we listened to stories of people struggling, both our understanding and anger grew.
As we listened to committed people in the public and voluntary sector, to people of faith, we realised that harnessing people's desire to tackle this moral and economic issue, based on real life experience, was the way forward.
So I am delighted to see the establishment of a Child Poverty Commission to co-ordinate this energy and transform the life chances of children in Birmingham.”
To read the report click here.
With all best wishes