Agenda item

Agenda item

Making Manchester Fairer - the Anti-Poverty Strategy 2023-2028

Report of the Strategic Director (Growth and Development) attached


The Executive considered a report of the Strategic Director (Growth and Development), which provided an overview of the work undertaken to date to develop a refreshed poverty strategy for the city and set out the approach, evidence base and engagement process for developing the strategy.  The report also outlined the relationship between the new strategy and existing work on Making Manchester Fairer, developing a more inclusive economy, tackling the Cost-of-Living Crisis and other linked areas of work.


The Deputy Leader reported that Manchester had long recognised the significant challenge of tackling and reducing poverty in the city.  In 2017, a Family Poverty Strategy was launched which focused on families with children and young people up to the age of 19.  A significant amount of partnership work was undertaken to deliver the Family Poverty Strategy in the last five years, against a backdrop of health and economic challenges which had highlighted and exacerbated poverty in Manchester.


The new Anti-Poverty Strategy provided an opportunity to take account of the impact of these challenges and extend the strategy to cover all households in the city to include those without children.  Extensive research and engagement work had taken place with residents and partners to determine the main themes and priorities for the new strategy:-


·                     Preventing Poverty

·                     Mitigating Poverty

·                     Pathways out of Poverty

·                     Inclusive and effective delivery


Learning from the experience with the Family Poverty Strategy 2017-2022 and considering the information that had been gathered from research and conversations with partners, there was an opportunity to make some changes to the governance for the new strategy to ensure that it was as effective as it could be. The strategy would be led by a Making Manchester Fairer and Anti-Poverty Programme Management Team made up of council officers and partners.  Delivery would ultimately be accountable to the Making Manchester Fairer Programme Board and would be undertaken through partnership working and collaboration between Manchester’s Voluntary and Community Sector organisations and public sector institutions with the support of the city’s private sector.


Measuring the impact and success of the new strategy would be challenging due to external factors beyond the Council’s control. The worsening economic context was likely to put pressure on household budgets in the medium term, whilst constraining the ability of the Council and our partners to deliver effective services. Additionally, the action that could be taken was already limited in scope when compared to the scale and complexity of the factors driving poverty in Manchester.


In response to these challenges, a series of indicators had been selected which would assist in identifying the risk of people experiencing poverty, and the volume and need of individuals accessing certain services.  This would help the Council understand how external factors were likely to drive demand and adapt its collective approach in response to changing needs.


The current economic challenges and rising inflation meant that poverty was going to continue to be a significant issue in Manchester for several years to come. Manchester had a robust system and network of professionals and organisations who remained committed to this issue, and who worked together to ensure that everything possible was being done to reduce the number of people experiencing poverty.


It was also recognised that in some areas the Council’s powers to tackle poverty were limited, and the Council was prepared to work with its partners to identify new solutions and ways of working to maximise the collective impact on this issue.  Where the Council did not have the powers locally, it would continue to make the case to Government for the legislative changes that were required to create the right conditions to effectively reduce poverty in the city.


Councillor Leech questioned the impact of the Family Poverty Strategy and the measurements of success insofar as to how many people who had received help and support were no longer deemed to be living in poverty.  He also made a suggestion that to help families living in poverty the Council should consider increasing the amount of financial support available through the Council Tax Support Scheme from the current maximum of 82.5% to 100%.


The Director of Inclusive Economy explained how the Council measured the impact of the actions and initiatives put in place through the Strategy and the Deputy Chief Executive and City Treasurer explained that there was a significant lead in period to making changes to the Council Tax Support Scheme but, as set out in the report to Resources and Governance Scrutiny in January it was suggested Council should consider its current Council Tax Support Scheme and whether the threshold levels remained appropriate.


Councillor Johnson commented on the need to help ensure food banks had appropriate support and funding to continue to help those who relied on these through the cost of living crisis.




The Executive agree to adopt the new Anti-Poverty Strategy for Manchester.

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