I chair the Leicester Child Poverty Commission, which I set up in June 2011. According to official figures there are over 26,000 children in Leicester living in poverty, with many more growing up in low income households.
The report published yesterday sets out 66 recommendations, including:
- Leicester City Council maintaining its network of Children's Centres across the city (despite the severe government funding cuts) - this is something Labour committed to do in our 2011 manifesto in the city elections.
- Payment of the Living Wage across the public sector.
- Piloting through a social enterprise or other provider the provision of packed lunches in place of free school meals during school holidays.
- Developing a partnership between the city council and other organisations to provide low cost loans for household essentials, such as beds and whitegoods.
- Automatic library membership for children starting nursery school in the city.
I am grateful to the members of the Leicester Child Poverty Commission and all those who have contributed to our work. The important work starts now as we work with partners to implement our recommendations.
With child poverty predicted to increase this challenge is urgent.
The recommendations can be read and downloaded from the commission's webpages.
The Leicester Mercury reported on the publication of these recommendations, and the paper's editorial supported this work.