According to the latest figures, the number of children living in poverty across Greater Manchester has increased.
Commissioned by the End Child Poverty coalition, new figures from a study at Loughborough University has found that a third of all children across the North West are living below the breadline.
It also shows that child poverty rates across all but just one Greater Manchester borough have increased, and four of the North West’s top 10 increases are found in the city-region boroughs.
The new data reveals the true extent to the hardship experienced by families on low incomes – an overwhelming majority of which were working households before the pandemic, according to the research.
Research shows that children from low-income families are more likely to experience worse physical and mental health, do less well in school, and have fewer opportunities in the future.
End Child Poverty is calling for an urgent government plan to end child poverty in the country, and for the chancellor to not go ahead with planned cuts to Universal Credit which will see a loss of £1,000 to families.
The rate in Oldham has risen by 8.1% in the last four years, from 31.8% in 2014 to 39.9% now. Rochdale has seen a 5.3% increase and now stands at 37.7%.
34.8% of Tameside’s children now live in poverty, a 3.4% rise. In Bolton over the past four years, the number of children in poverty has increased from 32.7% to 39%.
In Bury, more than a third of its children live below the breadline (33.8%).
Salford saw a 2.3% increase, meaning 34.8% are now in poverty and in Wigan the figure is 30.8%.
Stockport saw the lowest increase at just 0.2%, however, 25.9% of its children are still below the breadline.
In Trafford, there was a 0.9% reduction in the child poverty rates, the figure still stands at 23.1% of children affected.
Des Lynch, of Wood Street Mission in Manchester City Centre said: “In Manchester and Salford, child poverty has never gone away. We’re 151 years old and we’ve been dealing with it in all of that time.
“It’s a subject that has never been tackled by any government, let alone the one we have at the moment.
“The issue comes up in manifestos but then is dispatched into the background.
“While Manchester and Salford outwardly look like affluent areas, if you walk 20 minutes from city centre in any direction, you’ll hit poverty-stricken areas. And that’s only going to get worse in the coming months and years.”
Des added that people aren’t coming forward to get help due to following the Covid rules, adding that the problem is hitting those classed as ‘working poor’ the most.
He said: “People are too scared to access help, they’re sticking to the rules, no matter what is sometimes said out there, they’re trying their best and they don’t know what to do.
“But the poor housing rates, the poor quality of housing in Manchester and Salford, that’s been a problem for some 40 years with housing costs increasing.
“We haven’t been building enough social housing and what we are building isn’t the touching the sides.
“Giving developers permission to build is all well and good, but with the small percentage of social housing required, quite frankly it’s negligible.
“And the knock on effect that has on children, it’s appalling, we should not be bringing children up in these environments.”
The fight to end child poverty and to stop children from experiencing food insecurity has been highlighted in the media over the pandemic, not least due to Marcus Rashford MBE’s efforts.
Over the summer holidays, he made the government U-turn on its decision to not provide free school meals over the summer. This put a stop to ‘Holiday Hunger’ which many of the UK’s children face.
His new petition calls for free school meals to be available for every child from a household on Universal Credit or equal. This would reach an additional 1.5 million children aged seven to 16.
However, ministers responded to the campaign on Thursday saying: “It’s not for schools to regularly provide food to pupils during the school holidays.”
Adding: “We took that decision to extend free school meals during the pandemic when schools were partially closed during lockdown. We’re in a different position now with schools back open to all pupils.
“We believe the best way to support families outside of term time is through Universal Credit rather than government subsidising meals.”
Senior Tory MP Rob Halfon, chairman of the Education Select Committee, wrote on Twitter that the government’s response was ‘very disappointing’, adding: “We need a long-term plan to combat child food hunger, especially given 32% of families have had a drop in income since March.”
Drivers could soon be fined for parking on the pavement under new rules
Make sure you’re aware of the proposed rule changes
A ban on parking on the pavement could soon be implemented across England, under new laws which are expected to be rolled out this year.
Parking on pavements would be a thing of the past, with £70 penalty fines for offenders coming into effect under the proposed new rules.
According to reports, the new legislation would see a ban on antisocial parking introduced, in a bid to make pavements safer for people with disabilities and visual impairments, as well as families.
The changes to the law which are being considered have already been implemented in London and would be rolled out nationwide.
They come in response to complaints about pavement parking and the risks it brings with it to those whose use pavements, with the Department for Transport (DfT) initially launching a proposal on the subject in September 2020.
The proposals came after a review discovered that almost half of wheelchair users and a third of visually impaired people were less willing to go out on the streets alone due to ‘antisocial’ parking on the pavement.
A spokeswoman from the DfT explained to The Mirror that the government is currently collating responses after receiving ‘overwhelming’ feedback.
The public consultation period for the proposals ended back on November 22nd, and as such a decision on the plan is expected imminently.
However, Mark Tongue, director of Select Car Leasing has said that ‘the guidelines are currently quite confusing for motorists’.
The motoring company conducted a report which discovered that local authorities would have the power to dish out £70 fines if a vehicle was considered an obstruction, even if it was parked outside the driver’s house.
Mr Tongue said: “A pavement parking ban is 100% needed nationwide – anything that puts pedestrians at an increased risk requires action.
“However, the information given so far is slightly confusing for drivers. At the moment, there’s no clear guidelines for those who park on the pavement due to having no room on their own drive. Most households have more than one car, so it will be interesting to see where motorists are expected to park if not on the pavement outside their homes.
“Clear guidance is required for drivers so they know the correct location to park in order to avoid a fine.”
Operation Forth Bridge: the full plan for what happens next after Prince Philip’s death
Buckingham Palace confirmed the sad news of his passing earlier today
Buckingham Palace announced this afternoon that HRH Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh has died.
The 99-year-old, who would have celebrated his 100th birthday in June, passed away peacefully at Windsor Castle this morning, Friday April 9th.
Buckingham Palace said: “It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty The Queen has announced the death of her beloved husband, His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.
“His Royal Highness passed away peacefully this morning at Windsor Castle.
“Further announcements will be made in due course. The Royal Family join with people around the world in mourning his loss.”
There were already strict procedures put in place for when Prince Philip died, which have now begun, and they’re known as Operation Forth Bridge.
According to the plan there are several steps that need to be followed, including everything from national mourning to a burial site for the Duke.
Operation Forth Bridge has been around for many years, with Buckingham Palace, in consultation with both the Queen and Prince Philip, regularly updating and reviewing it.
Part one of the operation was the announcement from Buckingham Palace confirming the death of the Duke, which was distributed to the Press Association and BBC first.
Then the country enters a period of national mourning, meaning a set of rules, like flags being flown at half-mast, must be followed.
According to reports, it’s thought newsreaders and other TV presenters must wear black out of respect.
Next, plans for the funeral will be drawn up, and while Prince Philip is entitled to a state funeral he reportedly wanted something more discreet – a private service in the style of a military funeral at St George’s Chapel in Windsor, followed by burial at Frogmore Gardens.
The funeral is still expected to be televised despite the current restrictions, although it remains unclear how many people will be able to attend it.
The Queen’s private secretary and senior adviser, Sir Edward Young, will be on hand to help her during the undoubtedly challenging days ahead.
As well as being responsible for supporting the Queen in her duties, Sir Edward is also the channel of communication between the Queen and the government.
Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh, has died aged 99
NEWS JUST IN
Prince Philip has died aged 99, Buckingham Palace has confirmed today.
A tweet on The Royal Family Twitter account announced the news.
The Duke of Edinburgh was born 1921, and was married to Queen Elizabeth II for more than 70 years – officially the longest-serving consort in British history.
The official announcement read: “It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty The Queen announces the death of her beloved husband, His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.
“His Royal Highness passed away peacefully this morning at Windsor Castle.
“Further announcements will be made in due course.
“The Royal Family join with people around the world in mourning his loss.”
There’s been no official details about the Duke’s funeral released yet, however it has been reported that he will be given a royal ceremonial funeral rather than a state funeral, in line with his wishes.