Mayor of London Ken Livingstone has voiced his support for a report by the London Child Poverty Commission – set up by the Greater London Authority and London Councils – which calls for radical action to eradicate child poverty in London.
Thee report, called Capital Gains, contains almost thirty recommendations for action from all tiers of government including increasing child benefit for second and third children and a range of practical measures to help parents into work.
The Commission also calls for the adoption of the Working Futures pilot project which uses the subsidies currently paid for temporary accommodation to break the benefit trap and support people into paid work. The Mayor’s office says he has written to Ministers urging them to extend this approach to all Londoners in temporary accommodation.
Alongside Beverly Hughes, the Minister of State for Children, Young People and Families and Stephen Timms, Minister of State for Employment and Welfare Reform, the Mayor says he will ost a Child Poverty Action Summit in the summer to review the recommendations and agree next steps to tackle child poverty in London.
Speaking today Mayor Livingstone said it was “a scandal that in London, one of the wealthiest cities in the world, nearly half of all children are living in poverty. Carey and her team in the Commission have completed the most extensive study ever into the underlying causes of child poverty in London and I congratulate them on their excellent report which sets out a very clear agenda for action. The Commission’s work is now drawing to a close, but their challenge must be picked up and addressed by national Government, boroughs and my agencies to act on these recommendations.”
“I will implement all the Commission’s recommendations where they fall within my area of authority and where they do not I will work with London Councils, the Government and other agencies to get a united front to tackle child poverty in the capital. I am delighted that Ministers in key Government Departments fully support this approach, and this summer I will be hosting a major Child Poverty Summit, jointly with Beverely Hughes and Stephen Timms. This will not be a talking shop; it will agree a shared London specific programme to tackle child poverty in the capital.”
The Mayor was joined by Deputy Mayor and Assembly Member Nicky Gavron who described the report as “groundbreaking” saying it set “the clearest possible direction for action on child poverty in London. It shows how we can both take children out of poverty now, but also how we should be able to break the cycle of deprivation that blights some families.”
Stephen Timms, Minister for Employment and Welfare Reform said the Government “firmly believe that by helping more Londoners off benefits and into work we can build on the progress we have made. As a London MP, I will ensure that the unique issues affecting London are factored in to all elements of the department’s policy making.”