People living in poverty in Greater Manchester are facing 'hunger, isolation, fear and frustration', according to a report from an independent poverty commission. It calls for action to stop around 1.6 million people – nearly half the population of the area – sliding into even deeper difficulties.
- 600,000 Greater Manchester residents are currently experiencing the effects of extreme poverty. In addition, as many as 1.6 million people are at risk of sliding into deeper poverty.
- Those living in poverty face hunger, isolation, fear and frustration. The greatest concentrations of poverty are found among families with children and home-owners. Many of those living in poverty are in part-time work on low wages and suffer from fuel poverty, food poverty and reduced access to basic services such as transport and technology.
- There is a need for new social enterprises in the banking, food and energy sectors. This would see shareholder profit replaced with reduced prices, social responsibility and greater benefit to the local community.
- Steps are needed to improve access to key services for those living in poverty. This includes the expansion of free transport, the provision of affordable broadband and IT equipment, free legal advice, and good-quality childcare.
- The private and statutory sectors should promote the adoption of a 'living wage', as opposed to a minimum wage, to raise standards of living.
- Local authorities should get more control over local welfare provision – reducing the risk of 'top-down' approaches to economic growth failing to focus on or alleviate poverty.
The Commission was initiated by a group of Greater Manchester MPs. It includes representatives from community and faith groups, trade unions, social housing organisations, business, the public and media. It is chaired by the Bishop of Manchester.
Source: Centre for Local Economic Strategies, Research Report, Greater Manchester Poverty Commission | Recommendations Report, Greater Manchester Poverty Commission
Links: Research report | Recommendations report | GMPC homepage | CLES blog post | Manchester Evening News report