More affordable housing needed in Lincoln, council survey finds

The Picton Street flats are one of the latest affordable housing developments in Lincoln

The biggest priority for city residents is to have more affordable housing, a public consultation into the budget spend of the City of Lincoln Council found.

More than 550 people completed the You Choose survey, with respondents having to prioritise where the council should spend its budget.

Traditional ‘back office’ services, such as administration, finance, communications and IT were the areas where the biggest budget reductions were suggested.

Respondents opted for average savings of £626,000 out of total ‘back office’ budget of £4.38 million, with 97% of people choosing to make some cuts in this area.

Eighty-seven per cent of respondents also chose to cut spend on land and buildings owned by the council, with an average saving of £212,000 out of a budget of £1.68 million.

As well as reducing budgets, You Choose participants were able to look at services where they could generate income.

Around 80% of people chose to introduce a charge that covers all the costs associated with deciding on planning applications.

Some 80% of respondents also said the service should no longer be subsidised by the council. Around 61% opted to introduce a 20p charge for public toilet facilities.

The results of the survey will be used for the City Council’s five-year strategic plan, set to be published in March.

Ric Metcalfe, Leader of the City Council, noted: “It appeared to be difficult for people to accept the consequences of deep cuts.

“The cuts were much more modest in the paper version of the survey, which could be submitted without making the £2.75 million budget reduction, when compared to the online version, which required the full budget reduction.

“If we were to do You Choose again, we would probably allow people the option of increasing Council Tax up to a point, as this is a reality for councils.

“We would also fill in a little more context. For example, a lot of our budget reductions so far have been in ‘back office’ services, and this knowledge may lead people towards making different choices if they knew how much services had been previously reduced.”

Source: City of Lincoln Council