Wakefield Together welcomes report on poverty and prosperity
Ref: PR 3945
The report of the independent Wakefield Poverty and Prosperity Commission is being officially launched on Tuesday 18 December.
Championed by the Wakefield Together Partnership, the report identifies critical issues facing local people, their longer term impacts and potential actions needed to address them, especially given the current downturn.
It notes the good work already being done, especially in Wakefield’s success in regenerating the city centre and other areas.
The Commission was established by Wakefield Together and facilitated by Leeds Metropolitan University which provided experts for the panel.
Among the report’s findings were:
- Wakefield has a relatively poor health profile with lifestyle factors like smoking and drinking alcohol higher than the national average
- Early deaths from heart disease, stroke and cancer are all worse than the national average
- Those living in Wakefield’s most prosperous neighbourhoods can expect to live almost 9 years longer than those living in the least prosperous areas
- Young people are less likely to go on to study at university than in many other areas of the country. Those in the most prosperous areas of Wakefield are also more than four times as likely as those in the least prosperous areas to go on to university
- More than one in ten of the working age population are not in work, with ill-health a key contributory factor.
The report also stresses the benefits of local people gaining new skills and qualifications, both in education and throughout their working lives and recommends:
- Tackling poverty and its impacts should be part of all partnership plans
- Greater involvement of the voluntary and community sector, particular through development of social enterprises
- Greater involvement of employers, especially in building skills
- More citizen engagement around awareness of the benefits of skills and qualifications
- Procurement and commissioning by local agencies should take greater account involving communities in shared delivery.
Cllr Peter Box CBE, Leader of Wakefield Council and Chair of Wakefield Together’s Local Services Board, said: “We welcome this report and, where possible in these challenging economic times, will strive to make sure its recommendations are implemented.
“We know times are tough and getting tougher for local people - and we welcome the expert independent views of the Commission to help us to support communities and families under strain.”
“This report underpins the key aims of other plans we have in place including the District Plan and the Public Health Plan.”
Professor Andrew Slade, Chair of the Commission and Deputy Vice Chancellor for Research & Enterprise at Leeds Metropolitan, said: “Wakefield Together and Wakefield Council provided the Commission with significant evidence of the good work which has already been done to support the district. The commission welcomes their continuing commitment in implementing the recommendations of this report.”
Kevin Dodd, Chief Executive of Wakefield and District Housing, said: “We work closely with many organisations to tackle poverty and remove barriers to prosperity within the district, to make sure that all tenant and residents can enjoy a better quality of life.
“This report will prove extremely useful to our partnership as we continue this work over the coming years because it will help us tailor the services we provide so we can target those in need of the most help.”