Lib-Dem leader urges action following Children's Society report

Date published: 23 February 2018

The Leader of the Opposition and of the Liberal Democrat Group, Councillor Howard Sykes MBE, has written to senior Oldham councillors asking them to take a look at a report by The Children’s Society which identifies recommendations to improve the circumstances of the Borough’s poorest and most vulnerable young people.

Cllr Sykes said: “A report from The Children’s Society (Children’s Lives in Oldham) recently landed on my desk that provided thought-provoking reading. 

"The Children’s Society estimate that almost 19,500 children live with poverty and disadvantage in Oldham. 

"The report outlines many practical ideas for improving their lives now and for helping them secure a better future. 

"I believe those ideas are worth an examination – we owe a duty of care to all of our children to give them the best start in life and to help them make a successful transition into adulthood.”

This is not the only disturbing report about child poverty that Cllr Sykes has read recently. 

He added: “The Children’s Society report was soon followed by a statistical analysis by the End Child Poverty campaigning coalition which revealed that Coldhurst ward has the highest percent of children living in extreme poverty in the UK – over six in ten, and that regrettably several more wards, Alexandra, St. Mary’s and Werneth, follow close behind.

“Regrettably child poverty is everywhere around us; in my view, it is important, we do not lose sight of the fact that poor and disadvantaged children live in every ward in our Borough – they certain do in parts of my own ward of Shaw.

“Their circumstances have been made worse by Conservative Government dogma in adhering to austerity and applying a benefit freeze upon the poorest households.

"However, all of them deserve our best endeavours in helping them breaking out of the cycle of deprivation and to enjoy a happy and fulfilling future.

“These reports represent a wakeup call for action. 

"I have written to the Chair of the Council’s Overview and Scrutiny Board, Cllr Colin McLaren, and the Acting Chair of the Council’s Health and Well-being Board, Cllr Eddie Moores, asking them to find time in their work programmes at the earliest opportunity to identify which of the recommendations we can take forward as a Council,” said Cllr Sykes. 

“This report provides some practical answers to help make things better, let’s do the right thing by them and implement them.”