Birmingham City Council leaders have described controversial TV show Benefits Street as being “negative and simplistic, as he revealed 60 per cent of city claimants were in work.
Labour cabinet member for social inclusion Coun John Cotton spoke out as he launched a new declaration which aimed to “shatter” the myths surrounding deprivation.
The new Birmingham Declaration on Social Inclusion is part of an initiative backed by 15 other UK towns and cities.
Coun Cotton said that the declaration tackles head on shows like Channel 4s Benefits Street: “This is a counterbalance to the simplistic negative portrayal of the situation.
“Anybody active in this city whether it’s councillors, GPs or social workers will recognise the real issues. We have in work poverty, the growth of food banks and the growth of debt that people are struggling to get out of.”
The declaration, which was drawn up by panels drawn from the city’s public authorities, voluntary sector and community groups led by the Bishop of Birmingham David Urqhart, will see city leaders challenge the Government over deprivation and work together on solutions.
Birmingham is taking the lead on youth employment after launching a fairly successful policy last year which saw 1,000 apprenticeships funded for long term unemployed young people.
He also pointed to Birmingham Fair Money campaign which has found people alternatives, such as Credit Unions, to extortionate payday loan companies.
The Rt Rev David Urquhart, Bishop of Birmingham, added: “The strength of the Birmingham Social Inclusion Process is that it has not been simply about defining the problem, but instead, building a movement to drive forward the solutions that are needed to address the significant disadvantage that exists in our city.
“Creating a national movement is another step in the process.
“The National Social Inclusion Network will provide an opportunity to bring together our experience and expertise, learn from each other and combine our efforts to build a strong collective voice to articulate the arguments for social inclusion for all our communities across the country.”