Child poverty in Leeds ‘undoubtedly’ worsened by Covid-19, claims report

Child poverty in Leeds is a growing problem that has been ‘undoubtedly exacerbated’ by the Covid-19 pandemic, a report has claimed.
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A report by Leeds City Council officers into the issue of child poverty amid the Covid-19 crisis and claims a ‘radical approach’ is needed to tackle the impact of poverty in the city.

It is now almost three months since the government announced a nationwide lockdown, which has seen many parents lose their jobs, or furloughed by their employers on reduced wages.

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The report, which is set to be discussed by Leeds City Council’s stated: “Experiencing poverty has a significant correlation to poorer outcomes across a wide range of life indicators. This is a problem that is growing, both in Leeds and nationally, and it is clear that a radical approach is needed to reduce the impact of poverty.

Child poverty rates across the city are worsening, claims Leeds City Council.Child poverty rates across the city are worsening, claims Leeds City Council.
Child poverty rates across the city are worsening, claims Leeds City Council.

“In Leeds, we believe that a young person’s life chances should not be impacted by their background or the area in which they live.

“We also know the challenges that are faced, both by the people who live in poverty, and by the services who work across the city.

“We need to focus on mitigating the impact of poverty on children and young people- whilst we work as a city to improve the structures around people who experience, or are at risk of, poverty.

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“For this reason, we need to work as a city, to share our understandings, knowledge and practice, to learn about the day to day impact of poverty for children and young people- and then to work with children and young people to tackle this impact.”

The report added: “Covid-19 is undoubtedly exacerbating child poverty in Leeds and it is thus more important than ever to take action to mitigate the impact of poverty and provide every child with the best start in life.

“Services available to children and families have adapted quickly and many which provide support during the crucial 1000 days are now operating remotely and via digital means.”

It also claimed antenatal and support services such as Baby Steps, as well as breast feeding peer support services; and pregnancy in mind, which works with women with mild to moderate anxiety and depression, were all still running to help vulnerable families.

The report will be discussed by members of Leeds City Council’s executive board on Wednesday, June 24.