Council to spend £4m tackling recession in Lincoln

The Grandstand will undergo essential maintenance budgeted at £100,000

The City of Lincoln Council will invest over £4 million to tackle the effects of the recession on the city, if plans are approved at Full Council on March 6.

A five-year strategic plan and a two-year delivery plan includes 98 projects to tackle unemployment, housing issues and social wellbeing in the community.

The council acknowledged that in Lincoln 3,242 people are currently on Jobseeker’s Allowance, 3,000 people on the housing waiting list and 4,500 children, 25%, are living below the poverty line.

Rick Metcalfe, Leader of the City of Lincoln Council, explained how elected bodies like councils cannot stand by and watch the effects of the recession, so money has been moved around to fit the context of the city’s problems.

“We take the problems facing Lincoln very seriously and have spoken to the people and stakeholders in the city and are addressing their issues with evidence based decisions from thorough research,” he said.

The biggest winners

Up to £2 million is assigned to provide mortgage indemnity for first time home buyers in Lincoln allowing them to obtain a 95% mortgage.

Working with two financial institutions, the council will act as a guarantor for new buyers who are Lincoln residents and buying a home within the city boundaries with a value of around £100,000.

The first £1 million should help 50 new home purchases.

The City of Lincoln Council has committed £10,000 per annum for two years to support the Visit Lincoln Partnership.

Apprenticeship schemes at the council and with partners will receive £75,000 a year funding to focus on young people not in employment, education or training.

Pending a feasibility study, £150,000 of capital investment will be used to develop a programme of support for small businesses or social enterprises designed to stimulate the economy and job market.

Council allotment sites will get £75,000 directed by a new allotment strategy due in April 2012.

Some £125,000 of funding will be used to establish day care centres for the homeless, aimed at reducing public anti-social behaviour.

Reducing Lincoln’s carbon footprint will get £30,000 investment for up to two more electric cars and further promotion of public transport for staff at the City Council as well as cheaper resident parking permits and parking season tickets for people with low emission vehicles.

Regenerating local communities with a city-wide version of Neighbourhood Management will be introduced with £105,000 funding per year.

The Grandstand will undergo essential maintenance budgeted at £100,000 but will reduce future costs by preventing further deterioration of the grade two listed building.

Establishing a new cemetery in Lincoln will be given an additional financial contribution of almost £700,00 plus £32,000 yearly operating costs until costs becomes neutral.

Some £50,000 will be spent on carrying out a study into bringing forward the Western Growth Corridor in Swanpool with the idea of creating homes and employment.

With community engagement a priority at the City of Lincoln Council, £164,000 will be spent on upgrading City Hall facilities such as improving public meeting rooms and creating more interview space.

The losers

With council tax frozen for the year, money for these projects has been found by moving around existing budgets during the council’s services review.

The council conceded there may be room for shrinkage in its workforce as it becomes more efficient, but assured there are no plans for redundancies.

Councillor Rick Metcalfe said: “Operating more efficiently is not a crude euphemism for cuts but we can intelligently manage vacancies and offer early retirement.”

Other areas that have sacrificed budgets are leisure schemes and IT.