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Shocking report about welfare and health in Norwich is “very concerning” for scrutiny committee

Norwich City Hall. Photo: Nick Butcher.

Norwich City Hall. Photo: Nick Butcher.

EDP pics © 2007

City councillors have expressed concern at a report which has revealed dramatic differences in health and welfare between Norwich’s most deprived and most affluent areas.

A report to go before councillors this week details scale of deprivation and inequality facing people in Norwich.A report to go before councillors this week details scale of deprivation and inequality facing people in Norwich.

On Monday the Evening News revealed some of the shocking statistics in the report, such as men in the least affluent areas dying 10 years, on average, before those in the most affluent and a more than three-fold increase in unemployment rates between wards.

Last night Norwich City Council’s scrutiny committee held its monthly meeting at City Hall and discussed the findings of the report, which it requested following a review of the Norwich Foodbank in September.

Committee chairman Claire Stephenson, Green councillor for the Nelson ward, said the issues should be “top of the agenda” and referred to them as “very concerning”.

It was explained to the committee by NHS Norfolk and Waveney’s public health consultant, Dr Augustine Pereira, and James Elliott from the NHS Norwich Clinical Commissioning group.

They explained that the report had been prepared using The Marmot Review, which was published by the Institute of Health Equity in February 2010, before going on to talk about how the council is working with organisations such as theirs to improve these issues in Norwich.

Mush of this talk focused on the Norwich being a member of the UK Healthy Cities Network, a scheme aimed at preventing problems such as obesity, teenage pregnancy and drug abuse.

Norwich became one of the 19 cities involved with the network in July and councillors on the scrutiny committee asked that they are given regular updates on its work.

Catton Grove councillor Michael Stonard, speaking on behalf of the city council Labour group, said: “The report is extremely helpful because it provides an up-to-date picture of poverty and inequality in the city and enables us to review the broad range of work that we are already doing to tackle the causes and the effects, and to consider whether there is more that we could do.

“The report reminds us of some disturbing facts about the realities of life for many people.”

The committee finished by asking council officers to provide them with the best way to scrutinise the Healthy Cities work and to look into an accreditation scheme for businesses who pay the living wage rate of £7.20 an hour.

- For more about the report, see the link to Monday’s story at the top-right of this page.

- What do you think? Write to Evening News Letters, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich, NR1 1RE or email eveningnewsletters@archant.co.uk

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