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Child poverty is ‘masked’ in York
AS MANY as half of children in parts of York live in poverty, according to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation’s executive director.
John Hocking, speaking at City of York Council’s Housing Summit yesterday, said the city’s affluence and strong economy masked poverty, and pockets of deprivation were a reality of life in York.
Thirteen per cent of children in the city live in poverty, compared with a national average of 20 percent. But in five areas of the city – Westfield, Clifton, Heworth, Hull Road and Guildhall – levels of child poverty are higher than the national average.
Half of children in those five wards live in poverty, and the city has higher than average numbers of lone parents who deal with child poverty. And York’s overall wealth creates more housing problems as high private rents put housing beyond the means of many.
Coun Tracey Simpson Laing, York’s cabinet member health, housing and adult social care, told the summit renting an average two-bedroom home from a private landlord in York required a household income of £32,000 if people were to live without spending more than a quarter of their income on housing, but average wages were only £20,000.
Among the speakers was Elaine Applebee, who called on York’s leaders to listen to local people when planning how to improve life in the city’s neighbourhoods.
She has spent 35 years working on community action in and around Bradford, and said community groups and individuals could achieve enormous amounts in their neighbourhoods, but city leaders needed to provide a “strategic view” and connect what communities do with what the council provides.
“You cannot have a sensible conversation about what the state needs to provide until you know what well-resourced families and communities can do for themselves,” Ms Applebee said.
“This is soft stuff but it has always been used to tackle some very hard issues.”
Ms Applebee, former chief executive of Bradford Vision, spoke about her experience of working to tackle problems in deprived areas.
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