Page last updated at 07:14 GMT, Thursday, 18 September 2008 08:14 UK

Plan to boost health and wealth

Liver building
Getting those on incapacity benefit back to work is among the plan's aims

Liverpool residents could have a say in off-licence applications and benefit from a health MOT as part of a plan to reduce deprivation in the city.

The Health for Wealth project ranked Liverpool as the most deprived city region out of 354 towns and cities across England.

Now it has launched a 12-point plan to boost wellbeing.

The measures include a task force for incapacity benefit and incentives for employing previous claimants.

In May this year a Health for Wealth report said the city and its surrounding area, had "an invisible army of people disconnected and cut off from the opportunities created on their own streets, with lives cut short through inequality and deprivation".

The commission is based at the University of Liverpool and has put together key points which it says will help boost the area.

They include:

• A health improvement plan targeted at the impacts of smoking, alcohol, poor diet and lack of exercise.

• A licensing forum to give locals a say on the impact of off-licence applications in their area.

• A wellbeing at work accreditation scheme which rewards firms who support employees.

• A task force to look at incapacity benefit claims and get claimants back to work.

• A "procurement concordat" to create jobs and training, and the support and encouragement of major bodies to buy goods and services locally.

'Harsh truths'

Sue Woodward, who chairs the Health is Wealth Commission said: "Over the past eighteen months, in our search for the answers to those questions, the Commission has heard a wide range of sometimes harrowing, often controversial, and always no-holds-barred evidence.

"We have had to face up to some harsh truths: generations of families dependent on benefits; spiralling problems with obesity and alcohol misuse, and above all the creation of a super underclass; an invisible army of people disconnected and cut off from the opportunities being created on their own doorsteps."

Councillor Warren Bradley, leader of Liverpool City Council said the Procurement Concordat was "a brilliant idea that create thousands of jobs".

"The local authorities already try to support local businesses as much as possible, but a concordat could give us a more formal system to increase our purchasing powers," he said.

"I will take this to the leaders and chief executives of the other five authorities to ask for their backing.

"If this is given proper endorsement by the public sector there is no reason why we cannot then ask the private sector to sign up to the concordat."

City 'deprived' in culture year
01 May 08 |  Merseyside
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15 Apr 08 |  Merseyside
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24 Jul 06 |  Merseyside


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