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A third of Greater Manchester’s children are now living in poverty

The problem is sadly getting worse.

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Caleb Woods/Unsplash

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.”

Sign Marcus Rashford’s petition here.

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Woolworths possibly returning to British highstreet next year

Please be true.

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UKWoolworths/Twitter & Philip Halling/Geograph

A Twitter account called ‘UKWoolworths’ claims the much-loved chain will be making a comeback to the high street next year.

The account posted on Twitter to explain that three new trial stores will be opened late next year. They wrote: “Here to save 2020! Woolworths is coming back to your high street, as a physical store!

“A couple of legal things to get sorted, but we’re full steam ahead at Woolworths HQ.

“We want to get this right, so we need your help. What do you want at your UK #YourWoolworths?”

They went onto explain that they want fans to tell them exactly what they want from their local Woolies to make sure they get the reopening right.

They added: “Throughout this week, we’ll have announcements and chances to win gift cards for Woolworths and gift cards for other retailers on your high street. Welcome back to Woolworths!”

In response, one person wrote: “Apart from pick ‘n’ mix and the top 40 singles, cheap but good quality homeware like saucepans and picture frames and doormats and pillows. And sewing thread and needles. And shoe polish. And seeds and compost and plant pots. Everything Just what it was before, that’s all.”

Another said “I want pick n mix and lots of gift items”.

Another person added: “It’s got to be kid friendly. Easy access, wide aisles and full of stuff kids love. Comics, books, stationary, pic ‘n’ mix etc. Don’t try and stock a little bit of everything… Decide your market and stick to just that.”

However, not everyone is convinced the news is really true. One person wrote ‘obviously a hoax’ and another said the news is a ‘twisted and cruel PRANK’.

Another wrote ‘it’s a scam’ and a third added ‘it’s fake news’. 

Do you hope the news is true or not?! 

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Scooters are now available in Salford for public use

Let’s hope this goes better than the Mobikes…

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ConorJBChaplin/Twitter

Salford City Council and the University of Salford are said to be thrilled to be trialling the new project.

The Department for Transport has opened the doors for cities, including Salford, to trial new schemes for renting e-scooters.

Previously banned in the UK, the introduction of e-scooters is to discourage workers from using their cars in cities.

Lime, the company behind the e-scooter trial, is a US-based company that currently already operates in London, Milton Keynes, Europe and of course the USA.

With great success in other cities, we can’t wait to see the scooters take off in Salford.

Costing £1 to unlock then an additional 15p per minute whilst you’re out and about. Each scooter is also fitted with an alarm which will activate if someone tried to move it without unlocking.

It’s important you remember to obey traffic laws, to ride safely in the bike lane or street and to wear a helmet.

Will you be trialing the new scooters? Let us know! 

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Manchester United set to deliver 5,000 free meals for local kids over half-term

Just in…

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MU_Foundation & MarcusRashford/Twitter

Manchester United have announced they will be delivering 5,000 free meals to children over half-term.

Food provided by charity FareShare will be processed and packaged into individual meals at Old Trafford by United staff this week.

It will then be shipped out to local Manchester United Foundation partner schools. 

The six schools involved include Waterhead Academy, Dean Trust Rose Bridge, The East Manchester Academy, Manchester Enterprise Academy, Manchester Academy, Stretford High School. Other charities will also receive some of the meals as part of the scheme.

It comes as United Striker, Marcus Rashford, campaigned to extend free meal provision until Easter 2021. MP’s voted against the action last week but are now facing a lot of pressure to reverse their decision. 

A statement from the club reads: “Since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, more and more families are dealing with food poverty,”

“The impact of the virus has exacerbated an existing problem and, with unemployment rising and the economic crisis biting hard, many are struggling with reduced income.

“As a result, many families and children simply do not have enough food and are going hungry. This initiative does not solve the issue locally, but will make a significant difference to the lives of hundreds of families across Greater Manchester.”

John Shiels, the chief executive of the Manchester United Foundation, added: “We’re incredibly proud and humbled to be working with FareShare over October half-term.

“This initiative will go a long way to ensuring that pupils from our partner schools and families using local food-banks have fresh meals to eat, during what we know is a difficult time for many.

“We’ve seen first-hand how children from socially challenged backgrounds can be even more vulnerable when they’re not in school, it’s therefore imperative to be present in their lives throughout the school holidays, showing that we care and the Foundation is always here to support.”

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