Birmingham & Black Country

Poverty 'affects 37% of Birmingham children'

Birmingham City Council Image copyright PA
Image caption Birmingham City Council said no child in the city "should have their childhood or future life chances scarred by living in poverty"

Nearly four in every 10 children in Birmingham are living in poverty, a report has claimed.

More than 100,000 (37%) of children live in poverty, according to the independent Birmingham Child Poverty Commission, set up by the city council.

The commission said it would ask the council and partner organisations to adopt 24 recommendations in its report.

The council said tackling child poverty was one of the key priorities as "we work to create a fairer city".

The "truly shocking" figure of 37% was calculated "after housing costs have been taken into account," the commission said.

Its report was based on a survey of 200 parents of children aged under 18, interviews with families, views of more than 400 children and young people and evidence and consultation sessions held across the city.

The commission said it had used the "accepted measurement of child poverty" where children were "said to live in relative income poverty if they live in households with income below 60% of the household median" - the middle figure of all incomes.

It found Birmingham Ladywood had the third highest level of child poverty in the UK among parliamentary constituencies with 47% of children living in poverty.

Some of the recommendations

  • By July 2017 all schools should adapt their uniform policy to ensure affordability
  • By September 2017 a mentoring scheme should be set up so local businesses can help raise aspirations and provide advice and support for 15 and 16-year-olds living in low-income families
  • By April 2017 the council should explore subsidised transport for young people within city localities
  • By January 2019 the authority should work with local businesses to make the city the first Living Wage City where all employers pay the minimum amount

Commission chairman Matthew Reed said while recommendations were "ambitious," it believed they were "achievable" with the support of the council and others, including in the public, private and voluntary sectors.

Council leader John Clancy said the commission was set up "to remove some of the barriers which lead to poverty and inequality".

He said: "We've made our ambitions and priorities clear in setting up this Commission and we will now work with partners to increase prosperity and aspiration for all young people in Birmingham."

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