Milton Keynes Poverty Commission calls for positive change across the city

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    Yesterday, the second and final report of the Child Poverty Commission headed by Hannah Markham QC was presented to Cabinet at Milton Keynes Council.

    The Poverty Commission is calling for change from businesses, residents, charities, MK Council, the government and local partners.

    The first report in February identified that the number of children in poverty has continued to rise in Milton Keynes, following the national trend. The situation has become much worse everywhere since the pandemic began.

    In all parts of Milton Keynes, meeting housing costs is more of a struggle than it is in most places outside of London. Most households in poverty had at least one adult working so employment alone, the Commission heard, will not end child poverty. The Commission calls for structural change and action drawing on what they learned from listening and taking evidence over 18 months.

    Hannah Markham (QC), Chair of the Commissioners, said: “The aims throughout this process were clear. The Commission wanted to draw on what we and others have learnt since the last report and to hear from those working on the ground for their views. We heard from those directly experiencing poverty and listened to a broad range of life stories from parents, carers and children alike.”

    There are three recommendations, which are developed in the report:

    1. Establish a Child Poverty Challenge Board in Milton Keynes
    2. Help child poverty work to flourish
    3. Work to challenge child poverty through actions and influence

    Cllr Zoe Nolan, Cabinet Member for Children and Families, said: “The work of the Commission is a real opportunity both for us and our partners to make the changes that will make a difference to the lives of children and families in MK. We want to remove the barriers, such as expensive childcare paid in advance, which stops some families moving forward. There are 21 ideas for 2021 ready to expand across MK. I want to thank the chair and commission members who have shown such dedication and enthusiasm over the past 18 months.”

    Cllr Jane Carr, added: “We have seen evidence from a range of partners and organisations about what can work. Now we need to use these insights to drive positive change in Milton Keynes. Let’s not allow the dust settle on this document as it did with its predecessor. It’s our collective responsibility to keep the focus on sustainable change.”

    Cllr David Hopkins, said: “The barriers faced by some families cannot be overcome by the council alone. To give all children in Milton Keynes the best chance to reach their full potential, we must work with our partners across all aspects of daily life.  It’s amazing what we can achieve when we work together.”

    © MKFM News 2020 

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