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Liberal Democrats call for “Action on Child Poverty”

February 6, 2018 7:13 AM
By Rugby Lib Dems

A better wayToday (Tuesday 6 February 2018), at the Warwickshire County Council budget-setting meeting, Liberal Democrats will call on all political parties to unite behind their call for action on child poverty.

Liberal Democrats are accusing Labour of once again trying to wriggle off the hook as they have previously done when voting with the Conservatives that set in motion the cuts to children's centres across Warwickshire. The Labour proposals are nothing but a cynical political move and if adopted would see Warwickshire County Council run out of money.

The Conservative proposals will once again cut deep into valuable services and they are looking to invest more into capital works and infrastructure. They do not have a clear medium term priority list and their record of project management is not good, such as the Rugby Western Relief Road saga. There policy is a high risk one and does not tackle the growing poverty divide. Like Labour, the Conservatives have chosen not to invest in the Warwickshire Child Poverty Strategy.

Councillor Jerry Roodhouse, Leader of the Liberal Democrats Group, said:

"In light of the increasing pressure being placed on families and children coupled with the ongoing gap in child poverty, we are calling for all political groups to get behind the Warwickshire Child Poverty Strategy and invest in our children. The Liberal Democrat proposals see over £7 million being injected into tackling this issue.

"Liberal Democrats will also be pressing for more investment in cycling with a £4 million capital programme. The Government grant called RSG has been cut by 88% over the last five years and with further reductions to come, it leaves no other choice for any political group but to increase Council Tax."

Liberal Democrats proposals

Revenue

  • We need to build on the foundation work that has already taken place in regard to early years and families and look forward to strengthening and sustaining this investment for the long term. In order to do this we have used the One Organisation Plan and the priorities in the Warwickshire Child Poverty Strategy as a foundation for our investment that if adopted, will result in better outcomes for children and families and communities across Warwickshire. In total our investment is £7.4 million in 2018/19.
  • We will strengthen the Family Intervention Service/Brokerage offer by investing £500,000 this year and will look to increase this to £1 million in 2019/20.
  • Health visitors and Family Nurse Practitioners play a key role in the early development of a child and are key in supporting our most vulnerable families. We will reduce the savings target by £200,000 to allow the service to be strengthened.
  • We will allocate £125,000 towards supporting adult learning as identified in the Child Poverty Strategy.
  • Whilst supporting the implementation of the 0-5 strategy we have concerns about the timescales for the implementation and have set aside £400,000 as a provision in case it is needed.
  • There is mounting evidence as to the linkages between chaotic lifestyles, mental health, drugs and substance misuse, alcohol and domestic abuse. This is leading to increased pressure on services. We will invest £300,000 a year with Public Health to take the lead on co-ordinating the delivery of this investment.
  • We will allocate £130,000 towards empowering communities to establish the infrastructure for addressing financial inclusion, built on affordable credit, financial literacy and digital literacy, with the Financial Inclusion Partnership taking the lead.
  • We will allocate £45,000 towards Time-banking as this will develop community capacity for Warwickshire (http://www.timebanking.org) to draw on the good practice that already exists, such as in Stratford on Avon.
  • We intend to increase the councillor community grants by £1,000 per member to be used on supporting locally led health and well-being initiatives.
  • We will invest £400,000 (£200,000 in 2018/19 and £200,000 in 2019/20) to strengthen and empower our communities by developing community support through the voluntary and community sector in helping to achieve the objectives, as set out on the One Organisation Plan 2020, through sector led invest-to-save activity.
  • We will invest £100,000 in one stop shops and lets talk hubs including maintaining library service opening hours.

On capital Investment

Capital

We will use the additional resources not used to finance our revenue budget resolution to invest in the core infrastructure of the area, delivering benefits available to everyone. In particular for the next two years we will:

  • Invest £2 million each year to deliver identified cycle route priorities across Warwickshire, such as K2L
  • Invest £0.500 million each year in LED street lights
  • Invest £0.500 million each year in "Our Green Future", supporting actions from the Government's 25 year plan.

All political parties will be on the same Council Tax level.

Child poverty Strategy Warwickshire https://apps.warwickshire.gov.uk/api/documents/WCCC-966-883

Child Poverty Action Group http://www.endchildpoverty.org.uk/category/news/ and CPAG figures for Warwickshire in spreadsheet highlighted red tab