'We want change' - South Tyneside Council wants government cash to tackle poverty

Writing to the Treasury to call for additional support and education plans in schools are part of new recommendations to tackle poverty in South Tyneside.
South Shields Town Hall.South Shields Town Hall.
South Shields Town Hall.

The council’s people select committee has been carrying out a Commission on Tackling Poverty in South Tyneside, with two update reports so far featuring 13 recommendations.

At the committee’s latest meeting on Tuesday, January 11, nine further recommendations were endorsed, following a series of presentations in recent months from carers, health, education and finance organisations in the area.

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Cllr John McCabe, chair of the committee, praised the work of councillors for helping to come up with the recommendations to tackle poverty.

Councillor John McCabe.Councillor John McCabe.
Councillor John McCabe.

He said: “They’re challenging in the right context, it’s not just challenging for the sake of challenging, they’re challenging because they care, and they want change.”

The latest recommendations include the leader of the council writing to the Treasury to communicate the “reality of cost of living pressures” faced by South Tyneside residents.

The letter is to call for additional support to be made available to those facing hardship in the current context.

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Various recommendations to help young people in schools are also planned.

They include starting a “health literacy” initiative to make pupils more aware of the health system and how to access services.

The plan will also see the council develop a toolkit for schools to provide a “full range of options for future careers” along with promoting opportunities to understand and mitigate challenges faced by less well-off pupils.

This includes the Poverty Proofing the School Day Project and affordable school uniform policies.

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Recommendations will call for the council to continue to minimise bailiff action with regards to council tax arrears and explore alternative options for debt recovery, such as attachment from benefits.

Under the new policies South Tyneside Council is to proactively promote underutilised hardship opportunities to help residents access support.

Plans will also see the council pledge to work with community partners to promote allowances and support local carers, along with supporting the development of a wider carer support strategy.

Additionally it will see the council ensure ‘causes of causes’ of ill-health including poverty, unemployment and poor quality housing are prominent considerations in all council strategies.

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The recommendations will now go to a future council cabinet meeting to be formally approved.