Valuing children - Liberal Democrats propose motion at next meeting of Newcastle City Council
Councillor Morrissey will propose that
"Council notes that:
Newcastle City Council is committed to making our City a place where all children are valued and have the opportunity to reach their potential
1. Recent headline figures suggested 31% of Newcastle families are living in poverty
2. Figures for families relying on state benefits are even higher
3. The benefit system, which is intended to provide the anchor that families need in tough times, has proved wholly ineffective and is not fit for purpose.
4. Article 27 of the UNCRC states that children and young people should be able to live in a way that helps them reach their full physical, mental, spiritual, moral and social potential. Living in poverty has a proven, direct negative effect on all of these areas.
5. Article 28 states that children and young people have the right to an education. Living in poverty also has a proven, direct effect on the ability to learn and therefore benefit from this education to become economically active individuals
Council recognises that
1. The drivers of poverty need to be addressed now - unemployment / earnings, housing costs and benefits.
2. To reduce poverty it is critical in the long term to increase the number of employees in well paid jobs which prevents them being trapped in minimum wage jobs
3. Now is the time to be Investing in building social housing as a stimulus package and a permanent reversal to the long-term trend of families having to rely on the expensive, private renting market.
4. There is a huge risk that families on the brink - and not yet part of the horrendous statistics - will be pulled further and deeper into poverty.
5. The discriminatory benefit system is not fit for purpose
Council resolves to -
1. Lead the region in promoting opportunities for employers within Newcastle and securing employment which provides families with financial security - not just attracting minimum wage employers
2. Make a commitment to no further council tax rise next year and ask Cabinet to keep Council rents affordable for those whose income is low or is falling.
3. To lobby government on behalf of children - not only within Newcastle but the whole country - to revoke the absolutely disgraceful and discriminatory two child policy and restore child benefit to all children to recognise them as dignified human beings, much loved members of their families and contributors to the economic future of the country."