Almost half all city children live in poorest areas

Families are being urged to join the fight against child poverty in Birmingham as a report today revealed that nearly half of all under-18s in the city live in the country’s poorest areas.

A Child Poverty Needs Assessment published by the new Birmingham Child Poverty Commission shows that 49 per cent of children in the city – nearly 137,000 – live in England’s top 10 per cent most deprived areas.

The commission, chaired by Matthew Reed, chief executive of national charity The Children’s Society, and established by Birmingham City Council, has now begun its work looking at ways to tackle child poverty in Birmingham.

It has published the report as it prepares to begin public consultation – and is calling on parents and children to share their experiences of how they have been affected by poverty and ideas they may have around tackling some of the root causes.

The report also reveals that more than 8,000 children in Birmingham live in the top one per cent most deprived areas in England and Wales.

Matthew Reed, said: “Any child living in poverty is one too many, and it is simply unacceptable that here in Birmingham there are thousands of children in this situation.

“Poverty is caused by often deep-rooted problems and tackling them will not be easy, but we are   determined as a commission to come up with some practical solutions which will begin to address these issues.

Mr Reed added that new policies announced by the Government in this month’s budget, including restricting child tax credits to two children per family and lowering the benefit cap, heightened the need for urgent action.

Commissioners have agreed to focus upon five themes in their meetings and consultation: the economy/unemployment, in work poverty, education, health, transport.

The commission includes representatives from the public, private and voluntary sectors, including the University of Birmingham and Barnardo’s.

It will gather the views of representatives from all of those sectors including people who work with children, health experts, politicians, business representatives, faith groups and academics. But above all, it wants to hear from families and young people.

Anyone who wants to share their stories or ideas with the commission can contact Suwinder Bains at Birmingham City Council at Suwinder.bains@birmingham.gov.uk

People also encouraged to contact and follow the commission on Twitter using its @FairBrum handle and the hashtag #brumchildpoverty. You can also visit its website at brumchildpoverty.wordpress.com