Council Demands Tough Government Action to Fight Poverty

Date Released - 23/11/2023

TAMESIDE Council is calling on the Government to mount a covid-style response to help the many people across the country struggling to pay bills, eat and stay warm in the face of the ongoing cost-of-living crisis.

In a letter to Michael Gove MP, the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, executive leader Cllr Gerald Cooney has expressed his grave concern about the increase in poverty and deprivation, and demanded it be countered by the sort of radical action that was seen during the pandemic.

As an example of the type of covid initiative he wants the Government to replicate, Cllr Cooney cites the emergency accommodation scheme which temporarily ended homelessness in the UK.

He expresses deep regret that as covid-19 has receded, the determination that accompanied it has ebbed away. He and the council believe this to be a major error when the nation is facing the most serious cost-of-living crisis in a generation.

Cllr Cooney explains that Tameside is doing everything it can to mitigate the effects of the crisis, and convened a Poverty Truth Commission where members heard first-hand how so many people had been pushed to the edge, and in some cases even beyond the edge, of what is required for basic survival.

However, local authorities can only do so much. If the cost-of-living crisis is to be properly addressed, the Government needs to take action at national level.

Tameside Council’s demands fall into four categories: Benefits, local government funding, national policy and debt.

It calls for measures such as an increase in universal credit, discretionary housing payment allocations and local allowance rates; the abolition of the bedroom tax, two-child limit and benefits cap; a fairer local government settlement and realistic funding for adult and children’s social care services; the development of a national strategy for tackling poverty and inequality; embedding the “Right to Food”; improvement of debt collection, and the immediate implementation of the Renters Reform Bill with an end to no-fault evictions.

Cllr Cooney writes: “To quote one of our Poverty Truth Community commissioners, who tragically took her own life: ‘We may all be weathering the same storm, but we’re definitely in different boats’.

“As one of the richest and most developed countries, we can and must do better. Not taking action will mean that, in the sixth largest economy in the world, more and more people will fall victim to the scourge of poverty.

“We urge you (Mr Gove) to choose a different path. It is not only the practical option, it is now the only morally correct option.”

If you’re struggling to make ends meet, Helping Hand Tameside cost-of-living support information is available 24/7 online at

Council and guest services provide face-to-face support from Tameside One in Ashton (Monday to Friday) and are available by appointment or drop-in For more information visit Tameside Customer Services is available on 0161 342 8355.