METRO Mayor Steve Rotheram has created an action group to address what he calls 'the scourge of child poverty' in Liverpool City Region.

According to shocking figures published by End Child Poverty, 9520 children in Halton, 11,737 in Knowsley, 39,631 in Liverpool, 12,038 in St Helens, 59,055 in Sefton and 21,500 in Wirral are growing up in poverty.

The data prompted Mr Rotheram to create The Standing Action Group on Poverty and Life Chances, which was launched today.

Living in poverty is defined as households (adjusted to account for household size,) earning less than 60% of the median income (currently £29,400).

The new standing action group replaces the Child Poverty and Life Chances Commission, which has worked for the last decade highlighting the hardship facing communities across our city region and taking action to improve the life chances of our children.

It will now be part of Combined Authority working closely with The Fairness and Social Justice Advisory Board (FASJAB) to help improve the life chances of our children and young people and work towards eradicating child poverty from the Liverpool City Region.

Speaking at the group's inaugural meeting, Steve Rotheram, said: "It is an absolute disgrace that almost a third of children in our city region are growing up in poverty.

"Nearly a decade of austerity has stripped away so many of the vital services and safety nets that help us tackle the problems that many face.

"As Mayor, I won’t sit idly by while our kids are suffering. I want this group to work with our communities to help turn the tide on poverty and ensure that our young people get the opportunities they deserve.

"I'm building a fair and inclusive city region, where no one is left behind – certainly not our young people."

The Standing Action Group on Poverty and Life Chances is made up of politicians, practitioners, academics, trade unionists and faith leaders from across the six boroughs of the Liverpool City Region.

Rev Canon Dr Ellen Loudon, chair of the Standing Action Group on Poverty and Life Chances and the LCR mayoral adviser for voluntary and community sector said: "This group is needed now more than ever.

"No child should be living in poverty in this country in the 21st Century and we will be focused on taking action to ensure that fundamental changes are made so that children and young people have the life chances and opportunities that they should."