COUNCIL leader Martin Gannon has revealed that 20 per cent of children in Gateshead live in poverty as he launches a new support initiative for his town.
The Labour councillor made a call to arms this week, after shocking statistics have unveiled the need for more local assistance, and is now urging members of the public to speak up about what they feel needs to be done in the community to assist those in need.
The aim of the ‘pledge’ campaign is to help victims of inequality, and those in substandard living conditions, to rise above their problems and subsequently, when they are able to, contribute back to society in that same manner.
Mr Gannon said: “There will be people who always need help from the council, people who are elderly, disabled, who have extra health needs.
“But there are also people who could do so much more, who could thrive and live better lives. But they can’t because of poverty, inequality and unfairness.
“We have 20 per cent of our kids — one in five — in Gateshead who are living in poverty. And 5,000 families are dependent on support, to eat from food banks.”
Shocking statistics revealed that 9,000 people in Gateshead can’t work because of long term illness, and that women live in good health for just 59 years while men only do so for 57.
During the ‘pledge’ campaign launch, council officials admitted that years of cuts in Government funding means they “can no longer do everything [they] did in the past.”
A council representative said: “Every day we hear that people in Gateshead are not coping or are in need. We have too many people out of work, living in poverty and living shorter lives. It’s just not right, this unfairness can’t continue.”
Therefore, Gannon is urging the local people to get in touch with the council and voice their concerns — reminding them that it is indeed their council.
“This is 2017, we live in one of the richest countries in the world, and people are living in poverty in Gateshead,” he said.
“At the end of the day, this [pledge] is not about the council telling people what we’re going to do, because Gateshead Council belongs to the people. It’s for them to tell us what they think the priorities should be.”
Anyone interested in speaking out are urged to contact the council via www.gateshead.gov.uk.