City of Wolverhampton Council -“Children in Wolverhampton, not having a bed of their own to sleep in “

Councillor Phil Bateman said “One speech that I was very much taken with at Full Council tonight, was by Councillor Bev Momenabadi. I have therefore published it in full here on my web page.”

Councillor Bev Momenabadi – Labour – Ettingshall said “One thing that this Labour Council has proved time and time again is its ability to innovate and act fast to step in for our residents where a Conservative Government fails them.
We’ve heard today from the leader about our commitment to warm spaces, but I want to talk about our children in the city, who will be dramatically affected if the Chancellor doesn’t raise benefits in line with inflation.
This Labour Council is supporting more and more families with bed poverty, now what do I mean by bed poverty?
– Children in Wolverhampton, not having a bed of their own to sleep in so co-sleeping with parents and siblings
– Children in Wolverhampton, not having adequate bedcovering (sometimes none at all) and often sleeping on mattresses on the floor.
– Children who have outgrown their cots but haven’t transferred to a bed through lack of provision .
We’ve seen these cases more and more often since the Tories cut Universal Credit and energy bills sky-rocketing amidst the chaos in Government.
And here we find our Labour Council stepping in, we’ve supported nearly 900 children in the last 18 months which has included bedframes, mattresses, cots cribs and duvets.
This is the devastating reality of Tory austerity and cuts over the last decade. But our commitment to our Council’s commitment to families and children in the city continues to be relentless.
I’ll give you some more, real-time examples of where, because of the chaos in the Conservative Government, our Labour Council are stepping in:
– We’re launching grub clubs which are after school teatime support for families that are experiencing financial difficulties. These will be delivered in schools and communities centres, offering a warm space, family learning and help for children with homework.
– What about our careleavers? They are telling us that they too are struggling, as responsible corporate parents, our Labour Council is providing all Wolverhampton careleavers with £40 per month to support with food and fuel costs through vouchers.

This isn’t about attacking the Tories, this isn’t about politics. These are children’s lives we’re talking about, these are interventions we are committing to in order to counteract the failure of this Government in its duty to our kids in Wolverhampton.
But don’t just take it from me, Child Poverty Action charity have said that if benefits aren’t raised in line with inflation, a further 200,000 children will be pushed in to poverty. The charity itself said that the UK is already facing a child poverty catastrophe and that the Conservative Government will and I quote, ruin the lives of many more children unless it takes action.
Now, I know it has been a busy time in Westminster since we last met- we’re on our third Prime Minister, third Home Secretary and a former Conservative Minister go in to the I’m a Celebrity Jungle, all the while children in this city are being forgotten about by the Government.
So, I’m urging colleagues to think about those 900 children in the city when they choose to support this motion or not, think about those kids we’ve had to support with beds and bedding, and those queuing up at our food community shops and the funding that our Labour Council have provided for kids to take part in activities over half term holidays… and vote in favour of this motion or risk further children being plunged in to poverty in this city.”

Phil Bateman

Phil Bateman is Married to Mary and lives in Wednesfield North. He was a long serving local politician having served previously on the now defunct West Midlands County Council... read more