A new lens
on poverty

New data for poverty in Manchester reveals a city of contrasts

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The launch of the Greater Manchester Poverty Monitor 2016 at Manchester Central Library on Monday highlighted the extent of poverty in the area.

Around one in five people in Manchester lives below the poverty line – a figure broadly in line with the rest of the North West. Thirty per cent of Manchester children are below the poverty line.

These figures are anticipated to worsen further, with the poverty rate in 2020-21 estimated to be higher than that during the recession.

The monitor is a website containing multiple indicators of poverty at local authority level in the area and has been produced by Manchester University’s Inclusive Growth Analysis Unit and Greater Manchester Poverty Action (GMPA).

It aims to present more detailed analysis of poverty in Greater Manchester than is currently available, and to highlight this alongside Greater Manchester’s success stories.

“We have an emergency situation on our hands that requires emergency action,” said Ivan Lewis, MP for Bury South, at the launch.

“The juxtaposition of the cranes above us and the poverty before our eyes is very stark, and we should stop looking up at these cranes and start acting on the tragedy in front of our eyes.”

Atiha Chaudry, chair of the Manchester Black and Minority Ethnic Network, said that official data should better reflect the extent of poverty in minority ethnic communities.

“We know that many of our community live in poorer housing and have much poorer access to healthcare,” she said. “We need to capture these disproportionate impacts.

“At a city level, a third of our population are from black and ethnic minority groups and we need to look at that significantly.”

Fairer devolution deal

Lewis, who is in the running to become Greater Manchester’s first elected mayor, spoke of a need to reconnect economic growth with social justice, and said a new, fairer devolution deal should be sought in order to achieve this.

George Osborne aims to enhance economic growth in the north through his Northern Powerhouse project, partly through devolving political power to new combined regional authorities overseen by an elected mayor.

“I don’t think devolution was a mistake, but it does need to be challenged when we have a stronger mandate,” said Lewis.

“I would like our overall aim in Manchester to be world leaders in fighting inequality and poverty. I think we have the capacity and passion to do it.

“We should seek to lead on living wage and equal pay.”

Lewis also spoke of the need for more public participation in the fight against poverty, and for politicians to be more willing to collaborate with them.

“We’ve got to stop being fatalistic. Where are the fights? Where are the campaigners? We need to seek to galvanise people,” he said.

“Too many people are denied participation in a meaningful way. In the last 30 years we have seen a renaissance of this city that we should be proud of but far too many people are being left behind.”

Financial cuts lie at the heart of the problem, according to Lewis, with health and social care budgets being slashed and burned.

Mike Cribb, a business member of GMPA, said the poverty monitor would help shine a light on Greater Manchester’s problem.

“There isn’t a poverty lens. The poverty monitor will serve as a challenge to us all. We need to start collaborating by getting more business people involved,” he added.

Photo of Manchester Town Hall: Mark Andrew

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on poverty

  • A new lens on poverty – New data for poverty in Manchester reveals a city of contrasts – Ewan Waters' Portfolio
    24 Jun 2018 19:34
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