|Councillor Rory Palmer, Deputy City Mayor & Chair of Leicester Child Poverty Commission|
Commission draws up measures in a bid to tackle child poverty
About 160 politicians, business leaders and charity bosses met yesterday to discuss ways of tackling child poverty in LeicesterThe Leicester Child Poverty Commission held its second annual conference at St Martin's House, near the cathedral.
According to Government figures, 30,000 children in the city are classed as living in poverty and the commission has drawn up 66 measures it hopes will help struggling families.
Commission chairman and deputy mayor of Leicester, councillor Rory Palmer, said: "We have made some important progress but a lot has happened in the past 12 months.
"The impact of the Government's welfare reforms is now being felt by some of the less well-off people in society. The employment situation remains challenging.
"However, we have made some important progress by implementing some of the measures set out."
Coun Palmer said the council had agreed to give its lowest paid staff the so-called Living Wage of £7.45 an hour for adults, rather than the minimum legal rate of £6.19.
He also said the council was getting on with signing up all nursery-aged children as library members to boost their educational chances, promoting credit unions over loan sharks or payday lenders and helping to co-ordinate the city's 15 food banks.
Coun Palmer added: "We are not complacent. We know there is a lot of very hard work still to do and things are going to remain difficult before they get better.
"There are a huge number of people who are hovering just above the poverty line as well."
The Bishop of Leicester, the Rt Rev Tim Stevens, Catherine Stretton, head teacher of Marriott Primary School on the Saffron Lane estate, and Leicester South MP Jon Ashworth were among the speakers.
Coun Palmer said he would speak to his colleagues about whether to hold a third conference next year.