Earlier this week the End Child Poverty coalition, of which Z2K is a member, published new figures of the differing levels of child poverty across the country. You can see the full figures here.
The figures are calculated after housing costs so unsurprisingly London scores badly, with 14 of the 20 highest-rate local authorities in the country being in the capital. There is of course a huge variation within London. At one end of the scale 49% of children in Tower Hamlets are growing up in poverty while at the other end only 15% of children in Richmond live in poverty.
Anyone who is familiar with London will not be surprised by such revelations. The sight of extreme wealth alongside harrowing poverty is a daily occurrence in this city. What might surprise some people however is just how many children are growing up in poverty in Westminster, traditionally considered as one of the capitals wealthiest boroughs. Continue reading
On a cold day in September I joined Marc Francis, our Policy & Campaigns director, to get support for our petition against the proposed cuts to Council Tax Support in Harrow. For three hours, Marc and I braved the wind and cold outside Harrow Job Centre to get as many signatures and raise awareness of the proposed cuts.
I found being on the street asking for signatures a great way to meet the people we are helping. I found it rewarding to be able to give Harrow residents a voice through the petition. Most of the people we met were not aware of the proposals to cut their support. We met some people who told us they don’t think a petition would work as the council wouldn’t listen but we also met some who were delighted to find us campaigning on their behalf. I found that when you go out to meet people, you realise that each person you meet is an individual with their own circumstances, and they stop becoming a statistic. Continue reading
Amidst a disappointing party conference season for housing aficionados, one policy announcement stood out head and shoulders above the others. Lib Dem Business Secretary, Vince Cable’s damning verdict on his own Government’s policy of massively increasing discounts for tenants exercising their Right to Buy as one that “has done enormous damage” and one “we have to stop” raised plenty of eyebrows.
Of course, the motion was only really a restatement of existing Lib Dem policy to let individual local councils decide. But that is a policy they have singularly failed to implement in Government as former Tory Housing Minister, Grant Shapps increased the maximum discount in London from £16,000 to £100,000. If any of the succession of Lib Dem junior ministers in the Department for Communities & Local Government objected at the time, they certainly didn’t manage to persuade their Deputy Prime Minister to block it. Continue reading