Wages crisis, child poverty, ill-health. Let’s end ‘Dorset’s shame’

‘Living on the edge’ – urgent action needed in Weymouth & Portland


Yet another report gives evidence of the crisis in W&P. This month the Social Market Foundation published data on coastal communities: its report Living on the Edge shows that W&P is among the worst areas in Britain for economic growth and the only area in the South West to feature among the 10 lowest-ranked communities. See: https://tinyurl.com/yyoq3jbh

Economic growth per capita in W&P is barely half the national average. Wages remain chronically low while living costs, especially housing, continue to rise. Council Tax is the second-highest in the UK – on average over £2,000 a year. Thousands of households are struggling, as evidenced by a surge in child poverty: in some areas of Portland over 40 per cent of children are living in poverty, while across W&P child obesity (closely associated with poverty) is rising rapidly and is now the highest in the region.

South Dorset remains bottom of the national index for social mobility, which measures life chances of disadvantaged children. A senior executive of the former Dorset County Council calls this “Dorset’s shame”.


We are not powerless to bring change. WeyPAW argues that urgent action by local authorities is needed to address problems that abound in the local economy, including poverty wages, insecure work contracts and “rogue” employers. We want new policies on housing and health, especially for children and young people. These are all attainable – if our authorities, most importantly Dorset Council, have the will.

Please join us at the WeyPAW conference: Wages crisis, child poverty, ill-health. Let’s end ‘Dorset’s shame’

Saturday 28 September, 12pm to 4pm, at Safewise, Radipole Lane, Weymouth DT4 0QF.

National experts on family security, health and well-being will introduce discussion:

Professor Jane Millar, University of Bath, is one of Britain’s leading researchers on social security, families and children. She has been a Special Adviser to the House of Commons Select Committee for Work and Pensions, and to the Department for Work and Pensions. She was also UK Representative at the EU Observatory on National Family Policies.

Dr Kambiz Boola has been a GP in East London for over 30 years and is now a Senior Clinical Lecturer at Queen Mary University of London, specialising in health provision in areas of poverty and widespread ill-health. Dr Anna Livingstone has also been a GP in East London for many years, campaigning for adequate health care in communities affected by poverty and deprivation.

We will also hear local activists from Keep Portland Hospital and Dorset Parents’ Campaign for SEND Children. All members of Dorset Council have been invited.

This will be an open forum with ample time for discussion. Please attend – your views are important. There will be a light lunch and refreshments. Admission is free – donations are welcome.

Philip Marfleet, on behalf of WeyPAW


WeyPAW campaigns against poverty wages and to promote well-being in Weymouth & Portland