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Poverty Commission highlights plight of 600,000 living in 'extreme poverty'

The report found that over 600,000 residents across Greater Manchester are living in extreme poverty, with a further 1.6 million at risk of sliding into deeper poverty. Pockets of severe deprivation are concentrated in six areas: Central and Falinge, Rochdale; Harpurhey, Manchester; Balderstone, Rochdale; Langworthy, Salford; Central, Bolton; and Coldhurst, Oldham.

The measure of extreme poverty is outlined as those on an income of £12,000 or less, which threw up some interesting results – many of those found to be in extreme poverty were also working part-time, meaning they could not claim benefits they otherwise might be entitled to, and so a vicious circle exists. They also suffer from fuel poverty, food poverty and a lack of access to transport and technology.

So what can be done to improve the situation? The 16 recommendations are based around four key themes – food, fuel and finance; access to key services; jobs and growth; and monitoring. Food, fuel and finance the report calls for social enterprises in the banking, food and energy sectors – local authorities in particular are encourage to spearhead this, replacing profits to shareholders with reduced prices and community benefits.

There is also a call for local food schemes that provide fresh fruit and vegetables, especially that which can be grown and shared in the local community. Access to key services many people living in poverty also have limited access to key services so the report calls for expansion of free transport, affordable broadband, free legal advice, quality childcare etc. Jobs and growth the critical recommendation here is the adoption of a Living Wage of around £7.45 per hour, reflecting the amount needed for an "adequate lifestyle".

The report also states that the Government's City Deal programme should be enhanced by a Social City Deal that gives local authorities more control over the welfare agenda. Monitoring As we look to the future, there is a call for an on-going poverty working group and the creation of a Greater Manchester Index to ensure the situation across the region is known and understood.

Change is not going to happen overnight, and all the recommendations depend on the commitment and buy-in from individuals and organisations across Greater Manchester. To keep up to date with the work of the Commission go to

GMPC Recommendations Report.pdf [PDF, 1.49Mb]