‘Birmingham should be a city where every child has the opportunity to fulfil their potential’ is the ambition of Birmingham’s new Child Poverty Commission launched today (March 19).
The commission’s work is being driven by statistics that show child poverty in Birmingham is at unacceptable levels where a third of children are living in poverty, with some parts of the city having over 46 per cent of children in poor households*.
It will be made up of leaders in all spheres of influence including policy makers, politicians and practitioners – who will collectively provide expertise, knowledge and experience to help formulate proposals for a citywide approach. The commission is also being opened up to cross-party participation.
The cross-partner commission involves Birmingham City Council, the Children’s Society and the University of Birmingham as well as other agencies who all have a part to play in preventing children growing up in poverty.
The core focus of the commission is to implement actions rather than produce theoretical strategies without any goal. The commission aims to set out a number of actions that will address child poverty in a Birmingham context and help to reduce it.
Councillor James McKay, Cabinet Member for Social Cohesion, Equalities and Community Safety at Birmingham City Council, said: “No child growing up in Birmingham should have their childhood or future life chances scarred by living in poverty.
“Every young individual should have the opportunity to fulfil their potential and ambition and not let poverty be a barrier to their success.
“The City Council Leader’s Policy Statement makes a commitment to create a fairer city – tackling child poverty is one of the key priorities towards a fairer city and the child Poverty Commission is being set up to deliver on this by removing some of those barriers that impact on poverty and inequality.
“The commission recognises that some of the statistics relating to Birmingham are wholly unacceptable and aims to reduce the number of children, and families, currently having their future opportunities damaged by living in poverty.”
As well as asking professionals to give evidence, the commission wants to listen to the everyday experiences of children and families living in poverty and understand poverty from their perspective and bring to life the stories of children and families behind the hard statistics.
The commission also seeks to explore the circumstances that create poverty, understand the causes and identify any gaps in knowledge that hinder progress in reducing poverty.
Everyone should play their part to make child poverty unacceptable across the city. Anyone who lives or works in Birmingham and wants to share their views can contact Suwinder Bains at Suwinder.email@example.com.
The commission’s developments can also be followed on Twitter @FairBrum
The commission will be gathering evidence over the next six months.
Notes to Editors
COMMISSION MEMBERSHIP LIST
|Chair||Mathew Reed, Chief Executive, Children’s Society|
|Vice Chair||Sam Monaghan, Executive Director for Children’s Services, Barnardo’s|
|Expert Commissioner||Naomi Eisenstadt CB, Oxford University, Senior Research Fellow|
|Public Health||Dr Adrian Phillips, Director of Public Health|
|Children and families, Birmingham City Council||Peter Hay, Strategic Director for People|
|Voluntary and Community Sector||Alison Moore, Third Sector Assembly|
|Birmingham City Council||Cllr James McKay, Cabinet Member for Social Cohesion, Equalities and Community Safety, Birmingham City Council|
|Expert Commissioner||Prof Peter Alcock, Birmingham University|
|Private Sector||Jason Wouhra, Regional Chair of Institute of Directors|
*Statistical reference from: End Child Poverty report: Child poverty map of UK October 2014