Council supports families through tough times

Cllr Tim Swift

Calderdale Council is taking the lead on tackling poverty.

On Monday 5 August 2013 Cabinet will be asked to approve recommendations to support some of the poorest families in Calderdale whilst identifying long-term measures that will help to reduce the numbers of children born or living in poverty.

Calderdale Councils Leader, Cllr Tim Swift, said:

“It’s unacceptable that over 10,000 of our children are growing up in poverty. The consequences to children can be life-long including lower achievement at school; suffering greater ill-health and a higher chance of unemployment. We must break this cycle.”

Calderdale Council’s Cabinet will be asked to establish a Cabinet child poverty task force to tackle this issue, which has been identified as one of the Council’s priorities. Council services and partners such as the NHS will work together with families affected by welfare reform; with young people to prevent drug and alcohol dependency and pregnancy; provide advice on housing and homelessness and offer debt advice.

This will be complemented by the work of the Economic Task Force, which is recommending to Cabinet further investment in advice services to help those affected by the welfare reform programme.

Under the proposals the Citizens Advice Bureau would receive £25,000 per year, for two years, for advice services as demand from vulnerable groups has significantly increased. A further £8000 would be allocated for research into how families are dealing with the changes to the benefits system. Some families are coping better than others and the research would aim to find out how the Council can best support those who are hardest hit.

A new £100,000 fund would be available for organisations which run advice services, including those affected by the changeover from Disability Living Allowance to Personal Independence Payments, and the introduction of Universal Credit. Bids from advice agencies for up to £25,000 from the fund would be invited.

“Child poverty in Calderdale is an issue for all of us,

Cllr Swift added.

“It leads to long-term costs for the whole of society, and it results in hundreds of children missing out on the chance to achieve their potential in life. We believe that reducing child poverty should be a priority for the whole community – now we need to demonstrate how we can take a lead in developing practical measures

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