Recent figures published by Greater Manchester Poverty Action in Poverty Monitor show
that in 2021 one in three of Oldham’s children lived in relative poverty. Coldhurst has the
highest number of children in relative poverty in Greater Manchester – nearly two thirds or
64%. Levelling up is an empty slogan for children who go to school hungry and go to bed
27% of Oldham’s children are currently eligible for free school meals. Oldham has a low wage economy – 10.5% earn the National Minimum (Living) Wage and 16,000 people earned less than the Real Living Wage of £9.90 an hour in 2021. Tory welfare policies have made many people poorer – 1880 families receive no Universal Credit or Child Tax Credit for their third or subsequent children and the Benefit Cap makes the position worse for many. Oldham’s unemployment rate is 6.2% – above the national average at 5.1%.
Councillor Abdul Jabbar said ‘These shocking figures are from 2021. Inflation has rocketed
to 9% putting more pressure on family budgets and I have no idea how many people will be able to pay their fuel bills even after the recent Tory U turn. An easy way to make sure kids have one square meal a day would be to offer all families on Universal Credit free school meals. Oldham’s Labour Council has already taken action to improve wage levels – all Council and social care staff are paid the Real Living Wage and I call on other local employers to do the same’.
Councillor Ruji Surjan who also represents Coldhurst Ward for Labour added ‘Coldhurst
residents need more urgent help from the Government. The Chancellor must set an
emergency budget to tackle the cost of living crisis by increasing benefits to meet inflation
and reversing the £20 a week cut to Universal Credit’.