Senior Bradford councillor worried by effects of recession on children (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting TANEWS to 80360, or email
Senior Bradford councillor worried by effects of recession on children
Bradford Council education chief Ralph Berry has said he is greatly worried by the findings of a report into the impact of the recession on vulnerable families.
The research, commissioned by Action for Children, the NSPCC and The Children’s Society, warns the number of children in such families could hit a million in the next three years if urgent action is not taken.
Vulnerable families – with problems including worklessness, low incomes and not being able to afford basic food and clothing – will be disproportionately affected by tax and benefit changes and significantly affected by other cuts, it has found. It warns that they face being £3,000 worse off a year by 2015.
The charities are calling on the Government to better protect families from the effects of the recession, cuts to public services and changes to the tax and benefits system.
Coun Berry, the Council’s executive member for children’s services, said: “This alliance of charities are absolutely right – children are bearing the brunt of the cuts.”
He said Bradford has a high number of people on low incomes, and said the Labour group would be tabling a motion at the next full council meeting about a “Living Wage” policy.
He said a housing support pack was being made available to schools, and the Council was working closely with schools getting the pupil premium – cash to support children from disadvantaged backgrounds.
“I agree with everything the charities are saying,” he said. “We are doing everything we can while having to bear significant cuts as an organisation.”
He added: “It worries me greatly”.
Councillor Roger L’Amie, Bradford Conservative group spokesman, agreed child poverty was a “serious issue” in Bradford.
He said: “I think the long-term solution is to regenerate the local economy to give people more opportunities for well paid work and in the short term maybe education to help people manage their resources to the optimum.”
Councillor Jeanette Sunderland, leader of Liberal Democrats, said vulnerable children should not be allowed to “slip through the net” and work needs to be done to “get to the heart of some of the very problematic families”.
“The Council has a child poverty reduction programme and clearly a lot of work has been done and still needs to be done. What we want to see is urgent action taken by the council to help people get back into work.”