FEATURE: Salford Mayor Asks Residents’ Help to Tackle Poverty

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WITH a quarter of Salford’s children living in poverty, the council is asking residents to suggest new ideas for tackling poverty and inequality in their ‘booming’ city. 

Salford has seen phenomenal levels of growth and development over recent years. From restored waterways to growing parks and green spaces, the city’s regeneration plans have seen a boom in the number of people coming to live, work and invest in the city, and the council’s plans for a “modern global city by 2025” seem well underway.

But not everyone is reaping the benefits of Salford City Council’s investments. Deputy City Mayor Councillor Paula Boshell said: “There’s a lot to celebrate in Salford at the moment with major investment and improving school results. But that means little to people who are struggling to afford to keep a roof over their heads or put food on the table.”

Salford remains one of the most deprived areas in the country, with over a quarter of under – 16 – year – olds living below the poverty line, and 70 per cent of Salfordians living in areas classified as highly deprived.

The council’s newest approach to tackling the issue is to ask those directly affected by the poverty levels, Salford residents, to make suggestions for new ideas, via an online questionnaire. Councillor Bushell wants to “work with local people with experience of poverty and business leaders to better understand poverty in Salford and what we can do to tackle it.”

The council are working in partnership with the Salford Poverty Truth Commission, which is sponsored by Mayor of Salford Paul Dennett and Bishop of Salford John Arnold, and supported by a number of local groups and businesses. The commission aims to ensure that people who have experienced poverty first -hand are at the heart of how the city thinks and acts in tackling poverty and inequality.

Deprivation is not an easy thing to change. 83 per cent of the areas in the UK that were most deprived in 2010, were still in the bottom 10 per cent five years later. Urban areas in the North West are consistently in the one per cent most deprived, and Salford remains one of the most affected cities.

But Salford City Council hopes that by encouraging discussion on the issue, they will receive fresh ideas on how to support those struggling, and prevent people from falling into poverty in the first place.

Some measures that have already been suggested include building more low – cost rented homes, improving access to debt and money advice and encouraging more businesses in Salford to pay the UK living wage.

The council’s website is taking suggestions up until December 18, and is asking residents to give
their opinions on what is already being done to tackle poverty.

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