Manchester City Council

Poor Laws

The Poor Law system was not formally abolished in this country until 1948, with some of it remaining on the statute book until 1967. Yesterday the City Council considered its Family Poverty strategy which has been accompanied by extensive Manchester Evening News coverage, coverage which would not make it hard to imagine a return to the worst of Victorian conditions.. Of course no families now live in the level of absolute poverty that pertained then, but it is nevertheless the case that after a ten year decline in the number of children living in relative poverty, the situation is now getting worse.

There are a number of factors behind that; the bank induced credit crunch and subsequent recession, low economic growth and the double-dip, government expenditure cuts targeted on the poorest parts of the country, other policy changes like the scrapping of Educational Maintenance Allowances are just some of the key culprits. The Council's strategy doesn't offer any quick fixes because there aren't any and for most families ( though not all ) the only long-term solution is to create more decent jobs paying a living wage and get people into them. At the current rate of growth, that is not going to happen overnight and in the meantime more cuts, particularly benefit cuts, are going to make our poorest families even poorer. The Council cannot solve these problems on its own and we will be urging central government to soften its stand before it's too late.

The Executive agenda did have some positive items on not least the success of the Sharp Project and proposals to double the number of jobs created there over the next couple of years. We also had the draft Beswick Master Plan, which includes amongst other things a new sixth form college for East Manchester, something that will help raise educational standards and help equip our young people find higher value work in the future. All good stuff but we need a hundred times as much over the next few years. Other schemes Airport City, the Corridor, NOMA etc are all contributing to delivering jobs on that sort of scale but we still have to deal with the here and now. It's no use reforming welfare systems to get people into work if the work isn't there or if people lack the skills to do the work that is there. Welfare reform is long overdue but it needs to be the right sort of reform and not change that wrecks lives and undermines our childrens' futures.

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There are 9 responses to “ Poor Laws”

  1. Val Says:

    The biggest problem to resolve in my view is the skills deficit and is obviously linked to the other aspects of poverty. Jobs of the future will require qualifications and the decision by Manchester College to defray entry for English 'GCSE's to D level is to be welcomed. It is a pity that Michael Gove didn't recognise the damage that this He benefitted from a good education and now wants to pull up the drawbridge after him.

  2. Interested ! Says:

    Education is the key but organisations including Manchester need to ask themselves how many people from within the City especially in some of the most deprived wards are you actively targeting for employment . This is sure to spark some debate but if we are being honest most senior posts if not all go to those living outside Manchester - you need to inspire by showing homegrown talent and role models !

  3. Val Says:

    Bit missed off in transferring. after damage that has done to young people in the City and elsewhere.

  4. Dave Says:

    I would think that the changes in the Welare Reform Act and the Council Tax changes in 2013 will make a change to the overall poverty of the poorest in the UK. The Central Government thinks that they are making work pay more than Benifits all good if there is work available.

    It would not be a bad system as Council Tax is a form of printing money for private landlords and needs sorting out in the lomg run.

  5. Ian Says:

    The Bedroom tax will hit a lot of people when it comes in on April 2013, not much has been raised about this, alongside a cut in Council Tax Benifit of 15% this will hit a lot of people.

    I do understand that Council tax benifit had to be cut down but maybe more so for privite landlords

  6. franky Says:

    In the 70's there was an appeal mechanism via the council against unfair private rents. It needs to come back, but this government are on the side of the landlords

  7. Dan Says:


    There is an appeal system in place throught the rent assessment panel.

    This is an impartial service run through the ministry of justice.

    To clarify, I don't work there, I'm just aware that the service is available.

  8. i love jack russels Says:

    It's certainly clear that large cuts in housing benefits, council tax benefits, etc can only be justifiable if they go hand in hand with effective rent regulation legislation. Lack of such regulation allows private landlords to sponge vast amounts of public money from the state in payments of benefits and prevents anyone not on benefits being able to afford decent housing. There is a similar argument for minimum and living wage rates not being paid by some employers - it just shouldn't be the case that a family where 1-2 adults are working are earning so pitifully little that their income has to be topped up by the state in the form of working tax credits in order for them to not to be in absolute poverty. Like the landlords, this allows some employers to in effect sponge wage subsidies from the state to prop up profits and removes any responsibility on these businesses to pay a living wage. Feel sorry for the recipients of this mess who are then demonised by the government for being poor, feckless and sponging.

  9. Dave Says:

    i love jack russels Says

    Just like to say totally agree with you sort out the rip of landlords this itself would help all people renting property.



The blog of the leader of Manchester City Council, Councillor Richard Leese.

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