"This is nothing compared to what's coming down the track" John Merry
"I can see us going back to the dark days of twenty years ago…" Bill Hinds
Today, at the end of a Salford City Council Cabinet discussion on child poverty in the city, Councillor Peter Connor revealed that he had no idea of which resources the Government is going to cut next… "We don't know what they're doing" he said, making reference to this "deranged Government" that "undermines what we're trying to do".
Councillor Connor was echoing the earlier, more polite, sentiments of Salford Council Leader, John Merry, who said that the Council's attempts to cut child poverty in the city were being "made harder by central government's approach".
Councillor Merry added that the current changes to housing benefit were "a scandal" and that Government cutbacks would make it more difficult for people in poverty to get employment. He added that "this is nothing compared to what's coming down the track".
By Salford Council's definition of poverty (see previous Salford Star article here), 60% of the city's children are currently living in poverty and Councillor Bill Hinds, Lead Member for Customer and Support Services, blamed not only the current government cutbacks but the failure of the previous Labour administration…
"This is the most serious position we've been in for a long time" he said "For years and years we've battled the deep problem and we can be disappointed with the statistics and the Labour Government. It failed but it made progress…
Referring to the policies of the present government he added: "I'm really concerned about where we are now – unemployment, the serious position within housing - We were making progress, now I can see us going back to the dark days of twenty years ago…"
John Merry cast doubt on the Council's ability to deliver positive changes to the city's child poverty statistics, given the Government's "flawed approach". He added that Ian Duncan Smith, the Government's Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, knew what to do but has "no resources to deliver".
Salford Council's Cabinet agreed to endorse the report Ending Child Poverty IN Salford - see the full report here...