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Building Strong Platforms for the Next Generation

Birmingham is the youngest major city in Europe, with under twenty-fives accounting for nearly 40% of its residents.


Such a large population of under twenty-fives provides a vast reservoir of young talent who will be the workforce of tomorrow and represents huge economic potential for the city. However, for this potential to be realised, addressing the issues that plague young people in Birmingham is essential. Birmingham’s young population will only be an asset if they are equipped with the skills and opportunities they need to succeed as they enter the local workforce. In practice, this means reimagining how we work together to tackle child poverty.


According to the Government’s own figures, 42.5% of children in the city of Birmingham, more than one in three, are now growing up in poverty – much higher than the national average of one in five (20%). Where I live in Erdington, child poverty has increased by 6.6% since 2015, with more than 10,000 children now living in poverty.


With the cost of living rising, young people in Birmingham will be more acutely affected than other metropolitan cities. Unless a comprehensive plan is put in place, the city is in extreme danger of failing to realise the great potential that its young population represents.


No family in modern Britain should be struggling to put food on the table, heat their homes and clothe their children. Lifting this financial burden on families will assist in affording Birmingham’s young people an opportunity to obtain a slice of Birmingham’s resurgence.


And what a resurgence it is. Known as the city of a thousand trades during the industrial revolution, Birmingham is leading the digital revolution, as the city is piloting the country’s 5G network and ultrafast broadband rollout. With massive investment in infrastructure projects such as HS2 and tram extensions happening apace, and of course the Commonwealth Games being hosted in the city this year, Birmingham’s moment in the sun has well and truly arrived.And what a resurgence it is. Known as the city of a thousand trades during the industrial revolution, Birmingham is leading the digital revolution, as the city is piloting the country’s 5G network and ultrafast broadband rollout. With massive investment in infrastructure projects such as HS2 and tram extensions happening apace, and of course the Commonwealth Games being hosted in the city this year, Birmingham’s moment in the sun has well and truly arrived.


However, such progress means nothing unless there is a coordinated and comprehensive plan to help young people realise their talents and maximise on their potential. A child poverty reduction unit is a chance to posit progressive and tangible policies that will unlock that potential. Change must be holistic. Improving our benefit safety net needs to go hand-in-hand with building affordable housing, creating well paid jobs, investing in communities, and more. Although the challenges are many, the future is bright for the young people of Birmingham – now is the moment to take advantage of Birmingham’s untapped potential and afford young people the platform to succeed.

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