When Labour took control of Cheshire West and Chester Council in 2015, we pledged to launch the country’s first Council-led Poverty Truth Commission. It started in 2017 and was a platform for local people with lived experience of poverty to work together with public sector, private sector and civic leads to bring about change. The second Commission ran from 2019 to 2020 and in October 2020, Labour councillors voted for Cheshire West and Chester to become one of the first councils in the UK to declare a Poverty Emergency.
Labour understands the severity of this crisis. The implications go way beyond immediate crisis-management and only fundamental systemic change will address the disproportionate impacts of poverty on health and wellbeing.
On average men living in the more deprived areas of west Cheshire live 10.4 years less than those in the more affluent areas and women 9.1 years less. Childhood poverty is associated with lower school achievement and is by far the most powerful predictor of homelessness in young adulthood. Poverty is one of the most significant social determinants of both physical and mental health, so supporting people to break free of poverty is vital.
What will Labour do?
As leaders of Cheshire West and Chester Council and in partnership with Labour MPs in our area, Labour will:
- Bring together key socio-economic information about the borough to monitor the prevalence and impact of poverty.
- Take a new person-centred approach to tackling poverty and homelessness.
- Launch a new programme designed to support over 800 people with complex needs back into work across Cheshire, with a strong emphasis on decent wages and job security.
- Develop a new strategy to tackle food insecurity in local communities.
- Engage with Government and lobby for new national measures to tackle poverty and inequality.