Action plan to tackle Child Poverty in Plymouth

A new three-year action plan has been agreed by Plymouth City Council to tackle child poverty in the city.

The Plan for Child Poverty 2016 – 2019 will look at four priorities and will build on the work done since 2012 to tackle child poverty in the city.

The focus of the Plan for Child Poverty 2016-2019 will be on the following four key areas:

  1. Supporting families on low income – we will support families on low incomes to find their way out of poverty
  2. Narrowing the gap in attainment – reducing the attainment gap at Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 4 and ensuring more children are able to read and write
  3. Support for Parents – help for parents at risk of poverty to be more engaged with their children’s learning, access better mental health support, and obtaining better qualifications themselves to gain more sustainable employment
  4. Poor Dental health – a commitment that by 2019 the dental health of children aged under 16 in Plymouth to be improved – with a reduction in the number of children who have had teeth removed. In deprived areas, 55% of children experience tooth decay

The Plan was presented to the Council’s Cabinet on Tuesday 11 October 2016 by Councillor Dave Downie, Cabinet Member for Safer and Stronger Communities, and Councillor Terri Beer, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People.

Councillor Downie said: “In Plymouth, 11,500 children and young people live in poverty, which is the equivalent of 1 in 5 children and is higher than the regional and national average. People living in poverty are more likely to experience ill health and violence as well, something I have first-hand experience of dealing with due to my former work as a youth worker in Plymouth.

“The new plan aims to provide a renewed focus for where the city’s attention and resources should be directed to ensure that we have the most impact on our most vulnerable families who are most likely to be experiencing poverty.”

Councillor Beer, who has also been on the Council’s Cross-Party Child Poverty Advisory Group since 2012, added: “Last year, when we started to develop the new three year plan we looked at some of the achievements of the last plan, which I contributed to which included; developing a skills plan, reduction on fuel poverty, increasing the uptake of free education places, embedding poverty outcomes as part of the future outcomes for children centres and improving housing standards.

“Other changes as a result of the last plan include enabling neighbourhoods to change and self-manage their own neighbourhoods and future. I would like to pay tribute to the successes of the work of the previous plan, which have laid the foundations for the development of our new plan.”

Councillor Chris Penberthy, Shadow Cabinet Member for Cooperatives and Housing, said: “Since I first introduced a Council debate on child poverty in 2012 we have worked hard across party to look at how we can mitigate the impact of poverty in children now and seek to reduce the number of children who will live in poverty in the future.

“I am pleased with the work that the Council has done to date, the partnerships that are developing and the engagement we have had in producing this new action plan. Ultimately we need every individual, community group, business and institution in the city to work together to ensure that none of our children grow up in poverty – if you would like to get involved in working with us on this, please get in touch.”