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POVERTY TRUTH: Exploring the true depths of poverty in South Tyneside


Councillors have outlined their plans to “dig in depth” to help to reduce poverty and improve lives in South Tyneside.

It comes after an update was given at the latest People Select Committee on South Tyneside’s Poverty Truth Commission, and where they hope to go next with it.

The council’s scrutiny panel has been putting the issue under the microscope to make sure the local authority is doing all it can to support those in difficult circumstances, and to help people escape poverty.

Labour’s Cllr John McCabe, chair of the People Select Committee, said work is continuing to ensure the best steps are taken in a bid to help tackle poverty where they can.

He said: “We’re in a position where we’re ready to go and we want to make sure we go down the right track, and not deviate onto the wrong track.

“At the end of the day, it is for the residents who are suffering out there in South Tyneside borough, we know that, you just have to look at the growth in food banks and the use of food banks, Universal Credit, there are problems there.

“There are problems with people losing employment, there are a whole host of issues there.”
Speaking at the latest meeting on Tuesday (June 8) he continued that the next step will likely be to set up a sub-committee to dive deeper into the issues and report back.

He said: “I think that’s the way forward, to set up a sub-committee to dig in depth.”
He also encouraged councillors to get in touch with any ideas on how to move with the commission and to investigate the issue further.

The Green Party’s Cllr David Francis noted although Covid-19 has had a big impact, issues of poverty stretch back to long before the pandemic, and it is important the work is done thoroughly.

He said: “This is an issue that has existed long before that anway, it’s just been exacerbated by recent events.
“If we do something we want to do it well and not just rush it through.”

Over the past municipal year a total of 11 recommendations, across two tranches, have been accepted by the council’s cabinet to help make steps to address poverty in the region.
Talks have also been held with neighbouring authorities, such as Gateshead, who have set up similar commissions.

Written by Nic Marko, Local Democracy Reporter

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