Cheshire West and Chester Council calls Poverty Emergency

30 October 2020

Cheshire West and Chester Council has become one of the first councils nationally to declare a Poverty Emergency, following a request to Cabinet by Leader’s Champion for Poverty and Inequality, Cllr Mandy Clare during the initial peak of the pandemic in the Summer.  

Cllr Clare said: “I am particularly pleased to have received some significant cross-party support for the declaration.  There is now a growing national consensus around poverty so the timing is good.  The poverty and climate emergencies sit naturally side by side and through these declarations, we are committing to a recovery that puts people and planet as joint priorities. 

"The crisis has had a much harsher impact on low income communities and our recovery needs to be about fairness.  Despite the trauma and upheaval, we now have an opportunity to take stock.  Many people want an environmentally cleaner and fairer, kinder ‘new normal’ rather than to go back to business as usual.  We have seen how quickly we can make big changes when we really need to and local councils have provided the driving force behind much of the crisis response nationally. 

"We are looking forward to working more closely with the other councils that have already shown an interest in making this declaration, to take our response to poverty beyond the immediate and the local and to play our part in pushing for greater awareness and fundamental change nationally”. 

The decision was taken at Full Council on Thursday, 22 October and embraces the successes from the two Poverty Truth Commissions held in the borough since 2016. These Commissions provided a platform for people with first-hand experience of poverty to inform work and decision-making.  To support its work in tackling poverty, the Council has now set up a Poverty Truth Advisory Board with public, private, civic sector and Community Inspirers representatives to advise and support services across the Council and partner agencies. 

By calling a poverty emergency, the Council is committing to tackling poverty in all its forms, responding to the challenges that the communities of West Cheshire face but also looking to the future and to how community ownership models and community wealth-building approaches can provide alternative models of economic development that can stimulate a fairer, greener recovery.

More information about how you can become involved will be available on the council website in due course.

Cllr Louise Gittins, Leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council, said: “As a Council we are committed to tackling poverty in the borough. Our declaration is supported by the new Council Plan that has poverty as a theme running throughout to support all of our communities.”

“Our aim is to continue to keep lived experience at the heart of how we prioritise and plan, but to expand this and to work more closely with residents and our partners to fine-tune our data and insight into the issues.”

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