Elected Representative Engagement Wall

In London Challenge Poverty Week 2021 we were happy to see MPs, Councillors, and London Assembly members from across the political spectrum come together to call for a #PovertyFreeLondon

Whilst actions speak louder than words, the engagement from MPs and Councillors speaks to both the recognition of poverty as a significant issue in London and also the desire to change that.

Mayor Engagement

In 2021, it was encouraging to see the Mayor of London engage with London Challenge Poverty week. Together, the Greater London Authority (GLA) and 4in10, London’s Child Poverty Network co-commissioned research into the attitudes and experience of poverty in London. The research, ‘Flying Against Gravity’, revealed critical insights into the current sense of injustice felt by Londoners towards the state of poverty in the capital. Debbie Weekes-Bernard, Deputy Mayor of London, Communities and Social Justice, wrote a foreword to the report and spoke about the Mayor’s response to the findings at the launch event.

The message was clear. Londoners are very concerned about the state of poverty in London and also want to see greater action on tackling poverty.

The key findings of Flying Against Gravity were as follows:

– 4 in 5 Londoners (85%) believe that politicians should do more to prevent and reduce poverty in London.

– 2 in 3 Londoners (68%) are either more concerned or much more concerned about the impact of poverty in London following the pandemic (only 2.5% are less concerned).

– Childcare (22%) and general cost of living (18%) were perceived as the main causes of poverty.

Joanne McCartney, Deputy Mayor, Education and Childcare, also chaired a panel at the Child Poverty Summit, whilst Sadiq Khan responded to a question from Marina Ahmad, Lambeth & Southwark Assembly Member, regarding his action on London Challenge Poverty Week.

Events

A number of elected officials took part in events.

These include ‘National Problem, Local Solutions: an event for London borough councillors to learn and share good practice to tackle poverty. Chaired by Cllr. Muhammed Butt, the London Council’s executive member for Welfare, Empowerment and Inclusion, speakers during the event included:

  • Cllr Alice Macdonald, Cabinet Member for Equalities, Neighbourhoods and Leisure, Southwark Council. Alice spoke about Southwark’s decision to include socio-economic disadvantage as a factor in their decision-making by committing to implement the socio-economic duty as outlined by Section 1 of the Equality Act 2010.
  • Cllr Damian White, Leader, Havering Council. Damian discussed his council’s experience of tackling poverty and disadvantage in outer London.
  • Ellie Kershaw, Tackling Poverty Programme Manager, Tower Hamlets Council. Ellie spoke about the Poverty Review recently carried out by Tower Hamlets and published earlier in September which focused on child poverty and pensioner poverty.

At the London Child Poverty Summit, Munira Wilson MP (Twickenham), Zack Polanski (London Assembly Member), and Bell Ribeiro-Addy MP (Streatham) featured on a closing panel discussing the causes and solutions to child poverty.

Social Media

Elected officials also engaged across social media platforms. Below are just some of their posts:

Click to view tweets