Concern about levels of child poverty in Nottingham was highlighted by councillors at a meeting of Nottingham City Council yesterday (Monday 9 November).

Following debate on a motion, councillors resolved to build on existing work to tackle the issue and gave a commitment to support Marcus Rashford’s campaign to end child food poverty.

The council has already done lots of work to reduce child poverty in Nottingham; from commitments to increase the number of children attending good or outstanding schools, to the work of Small Steps Big Changes and the Dolly Parton Imagination Library.

There is also a well-established network of social eating projects, food banks and meal provision for those in our city that need it.

Proposing the motion, Portfolio Holder for Children and Young People, Councillor Cheryl Barnard said: “The scale of child poverty in Nottingham is concerning and, although we do not have official figures to show, it is inevitable that we are in a worsening position.  Covid 19 threatens to undo any progress we make as it not just takes lives but takes livelihoods.  Pre-existing inequalities have been amplified and we have seen the fragility of systems to provide a safety net for children.

“Children are the most vulnerable group in our society and living in poverty results in these children experiencing the negative impacts and challenges associated with deprivation and disadvantage. We want the best for our children and this council is committed to continuing to address child poverty and strive to make Nottingham a place where all children can flourish.”

The motion also committed to supporting Marcus Rashford’s #endchildfoodpovertynow campaign.

Commenting on the Government U-turn over the weekend, Cllr Barnard said: “I would like to thank Nottingham City Council officers who ensured that vouchers were made available to families in receipt of means-tested free school meals following the Government’s failure to respond to national calls.

“The recent Government U-turn on free school meals is encouraging but a very late response to immense pressure.  I would highlight that teachers’ unions report there are children living in poverty who will not benefit from this, as their families don’t qualify.”