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Last Updated: Monday, 13 December, 2004, 13:57 GMT
Pledge to help 'break the cycle'
Children in school
More funding is being invested in education
In the east London borough of Tower Hamlets council officials say they are working hard to reduce child poverty.

The area has the highest number of children in England growing up in families who solely rely on benefits.

The borough's council leader said a huge part of its funding was being invested in education to help "break the cycle" of unemployment.

But he said the number of people out of work was still much higher than the London average.

Councillor Helal Abbas, leader of Tower Hamlets Borough Council, said the level of child poverty in the area had been reduced over the years due to a number of initiatives.

Anyone can turn up to a job for a few weeks but we have actually managed to get almost 100 people into sustainable employment
Councillor Helal Abbas
"We are putting more of our funding into education to try and break the cycle of unemployment.

"We have a growing youth population and are running a number of initiatives for youngsters through the Sure Start scheme."

Through the borough's community plan for 2004/5 the council has pledged to improve the lives of vulnerable children and young people.

Projects include 13 new children's centres across the borough by 2006 and to ensure that at least 50% of pregnant schoolgirls remain in education and gain at least one GCSE pass.

Best start

The plan also sets out ways of ensuring that people claim the maximum benefits available to them "helping to reduce the level of poverty for some of the most needy families."

With a population of nearly 200,000 the borough is one of the most disadvantaged areas in the country, with high levels of unemployment.

The council admits that despite helping to secure employment for 92 people last year, local unemployment was still at a high level with 9.9% of residents out of work compared to the London average of 6.9%.

Massive regeneration...has brought real benefits but many of these have still not spread to local people
Community Plan report
Councillor Abbas said it was a real challenge to get people into sustainable employment.

"Anyone can turn up to a job for a few weeks but we have actually managed to get almost 100 people into sustainable employment."

The Community Plan said leaflets explaining how to find a job were also distributed in the area and local youngsters were commissioned to undertake work aimed at encouraging them to become involved in business enterprise.

"Massive regeneration of the Docklands and City fringes has brought real benefits but many of these have still not spread to local people," the plan said.

"Over 100,000 new jobs are forecast for the area over the next 10 years as a result of the Mayor's London Plan and we need to make sure that local people have the skills and confidence required to access them."




SEE ALSO:
Poverty report highlights cities
13 Dec 04 |  England
Tunbridge Wells's unwed mothers
19 Nov 04 |  London


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