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Southport Reporter®

Edition No. 191

Date:- 13 March 2005

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A roadshow, organised by the End Child Poverty coalition, highlighting the number of children living in poverty in the North West and Merseyside, will visit Manchester and Liverpool on March 11 and 12.

According to the latest figures, 450,000 of the 1.5 million children in the North West and Merseyside - almost 1 child in every 3 - are living in poverty, the Department of Works and Pensions report on Households below average income 2002/3 shows.

Recent research has found that 215 wards in the North West and Merseyside have at least 30% of children surviving on benefits - with 75 of those in Greater Manchester, 66 in Merseyside, 46 in Lancashire, 15 in Cumbria,13 in Cheshire.

In Greater Manchester there are 37 wards with more than 40% of children living below the poverty line, 13 with more than 50% and 7 with more than 60%.

In Merseyside there are 47 wards with more than 40% of children living in poverty, 23 with more than 50%, 11 with more than 60% and one ward - Granby - where 71.9% of children live in poverty.

The roadshow comprises a seminar on March 11 in Manchester and a 3D exhibition on March 12 in Liverpool.

End Child Poverty director Jonathan Stearn said:- "The fact that 450,00 children in the North West are living in poverty - the highest number in any part of England outside London - is a blight on the region. Such high levels of child poverty shame a prosperous country like ours

The government estimates that 3.6 million children living in poverty in Britain today but has pledged to end child poverty in the UK by 2020. Through tax and benefit reforms it has already managed to lift 1 million children out of poverty.

But End Child Poverty believes that urgent action is needed if the government is going to meet its target.

The public agrees. New research for the coalition by ICM has found that 85% of the public believes that tackling child poverty in the UK should be higher on government's agenda.

End Child Poverty has just published a 10 point charter, Ten for a million, supported by more than 45 national organisations, showing the government how to remove another 1 million children from poverty and hit its 2010 target."

End Child Poverty director Jonathan Stearn said:- "We are seeing a new determination to tackle child poverty but the statistics in the North West shows what a mountain here is to climb. It is vital that we keep up the pressure on the government to stick to it pledge to eradicate child poverty by 2020. Our new 10-point Charter provides the way forward."


ST Edward's School is to represent the region at the climax of the Bar National Mock Trial Competition 2004/05 on Saturday 19 March at Bristol Crown Court. Now in its 14 year the competition promotes young people's awareness of the law and court systems. The Lord Chancellor, Lord Falconer of Thoroton, will judge the final of this prestigious competition. 

The competition, which provides a unique opportunity for 15-18 year old students to gain hands on experience of the workings of the legal system, is funded by the Bar Council together with the Bar Council of Northern Ireland; the Faculty of Advocates; the Inns of Court and the Circuits and is organised by the Citizenship Foundation. The competition is also greatly assisted by the Department for Constitutional Affairs through the provision of Crown Courts and court staff.

The St Edward's School team successfully competed against 7 local schools for a place in the final at the regional competition in November, held at the Queen Elizabeth II Law Courts in Liverpool. They join 15 teams selected from over 150 competing schools drawn from across the UK. 

The finalists will once again play the parts of barristers, witnesses, court staff and jurors, competing against one another in mock trials with a view to winning this year's competition. Full time judges, recorders and senior barristers or advocates will assess their performances.

Students will need to be prepared to defend and prosecute two fictional cases dealing with possession of a class A drug and theft. The cases, as far as possible, were created to accurately reflect the law and trial procedure of the criminal justice system.

Commenting on the forthcoming event Guy Mansfield QC, Chairman of the Bar said:- "Those who take part not only learn the importance of a fair and effective system of justice, they also gain valuable skills and have great fun. The Judges and barristers who take part all find it fascinating. The Bar Council wishes all the teams the very best of luck."

The Citizenship Foundation and the Bar Council aim to ensure that young people are aware of their legal rights, and their responsibilities. 

Tony Breslin, chief executive of the Citizenship Foundation, said:- "An understanding of the law and legal system underpins the successful functioning of our democracy. Everyone should have the opportunity to learn about the systems and processes that have an impact on their daily lives, and this competition provides an ideal opportunity for schools to get involved."
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