Mayoral election represents an opportunity to push tackling poverty up the agenda
By Graham Whitham
Poverty is a growing problem in our city region with over 600,000 residents living in poverty. Greater Manchester is home to some of the UK’s most deprived neighbourhoods. Poverty and economic inequality in Greater Manchester results in widely varying health, education and economic outcomes for the city region’s residents. Poverty damages the lives of the people it effects, both in the here and now and in the long-term. High levels of poverty act as a drag on Greater Manchester, hindering the economic potential of the area and putting pressure on public services. Poverty, therefore, is everybody’s business.
Ahead of the Greater Manchester Mayoral election on Thursday May 7th, 2020, GMPA is calling on candidates to commit to tackling poverty in Greater Manchester. The Mayor can play an important role in this agenda, both through direct powers and by working with local authorities and key partners to implement innovative and consistent approaches to tackling poverty across the city region. Central to this agenda will be creating a strategic framework that ensures tackling poverty is a priority for the Mayor. Our asks set out what this framework should include. In some instances, it may be appropriate for the mayor to seek the devolution of further powers from central government in order to maximise the impact of local efforts to tackle poverty.
GMPA is calling for a number of measures, including:
• The creation of a strategic framework for tackling poverty by
·Appointing a portfolio lead for poverty
· Introducing a socio-economic duty
·Embedding a focus on poverty in the refreshed GM Strategy.
• A reduction in food poverty, with a strong focus on ensuring no child goes hungry.
• The embedding of working with people with lived experience of poverty across all relevant areas of decision making.
• A focus on the poverty premium that builds on GMPA’s research to better understand the nature of the
poverty premium in Greater Manchester and the establishment of an incubator scheme for start-ups seeking
to tackle the poverty premium
• Work to maximise the positive impact social security provision can have on tackling poverty in Greater
Manchester. This could include a GM wide benefit take-up campaign and the devolution of elements of the
welfare system so that we can do more to tackle poverty locally.
As we approach the election in May, we will be setting out further detail of the things we need to see happen across a range of policy areas including:
• Housing and homelessness
• Creating an inclusive economy
• In-work poverty
• The poverty premium, and Social security.
We will be inviting external experts to write about these issues in greater detail in future editions of the newsletter.
With a huge amount happening across Greater Manchester to redouble efforts to tackle poverty, including the introduction of local poverty strategies, the mayoral election represents an opportunity to consolidate and strengthen anti-poverty efforts across the city region.