South Lakeland District Council (SLDC) should declare a Poverty Emergency!

The council heard calls for the declaration at the full council meeting last night.

With food shares on the rise and furloughs on the decline, calls are growing for a Poverty Emergency to be declared now.

Councillor Giles Archibald, the Leader and Promoter of South Lakeland, thinks now is the time to declare a poverty emergency saying: “Already we have a high level of poverty in some of our wards, and we anticipate that this will rise in the coming months.

"We have seen a substantial increase in unemployment, and we expect this to rise further when the furlough scheme ends. In South Lakeland we have the highest levels of furloughed workers in the country.

"The date when the government’s ban on eviction comes to an end, will signal another likely spike in need.”

Guest speaker was Miss Jemima Longcake from the children’s society and she voiced her concerns saying: "How would a declaration work? Councils should be responsible and take care of constituents.

"I would like to ask what will the declaration mean? Will it be new support or support already established?

"I think the South Lakes area is missing an official support team from the council to help in this area.

"The children’s society supports a declaration of a poverty emergency for those basic levels that are unaffordable necessities like food shelter. Barrow has declared one, SLDC should follow these actions as well.”

Councillor Susie Pye who manages Health, Wellbeing and Financial Resilience on the council thinks the stigma of asking for help is part of the problem.

She said: "I reiterate all of what Giles has said. We knew before Covid struck that there were pockets of deprivation in South Lakeland, but it seems we are in danger of poverty becoming a much wider-spread issue."