Poverty Panel – Why there needs to be a change
It’s not often that I attend a meeting and it having a hard hitting effect on me. As I have posted before (click here). A single issue panel has been set up to look at poverty in Cornwall. It’s going to look into child poverty in Cornwall, but it can’t do that in isolation. 5 Cornwall Councillors sit on this Panel, I being one of those Councillors.
I know were are not going to fully solve this issue, but what we are going to do is look into how Cornwall Council deals with this, and makes sure we work harder in trying to eradicate this. This Panel can only have an influence on Cornwall Council, but that could be improved. Currently 18.3% of our children in Cornwall are classed as living in poverty. (Please click Here and then click County for the full details from HMRC). Cornwall is by no means the worse. Greater London comes in at 30%, but our neighbouring County, Devon is lower at 14%
The first few meeting are going to be evidence gathering. We are inviting different organisation that deal with this issue to come and present to us. That way we have a ‘big picture’ understanding on this issue. I have found that a lot of problems could be solved if there was better communications between different organisations. Cornwall Council has to hold its hand up on this issue too. From my experience Cornwall Council struggles to talk between different departments. Organisations and different depts are very territorial, especially when it comes down to funding.
At the first meeting we invited 3 different organisations. It was the presentation from John Ede in his role CAB that the figures of debt and poverty were most striking. He made the comment that if 100,000 people in Cornwall had Typhoid then people would move heaven and earth to solve it, but because debt and poverty is a dirty word it’s kept under the counter. That comment really hit home.
Lot’s is already being done. Excellent work is being undertaken by Cornwall Works. They can be found via www.cornwallworks.org.uk . I hope this Panel can make a difference, even a small one would be an improvement.
Here is Cllr Chris Ridgers blog on this issue. He is the Chairman of the SIP looking into this.