Lincoln council working on anti-poverty strategy

The City of Lincoln Council is looking at the way poverty is dealt with in the city with meetings regarding support to those on low income.

The council’s Leadership Scrutiny Committee will hold a series of meetings looking at the different range of benefits and other support available to those considered to be on or below the poverty line.

Meetings will look at key themes poverty impacts, such as accessing work, child poverty and education, health and housing.

The committee will try to gather enough from the council’s partners and its own information to develop an anti-poverty strategy for Lincoln.

The strategy will then help the council fulfil one of its key priorities — to help protect the poorest people in Lincoln.

The first meeting looked at benefits, covering the working poor and those who are unemployed, and included speeches from partners in the community.

Key points included:

  • Professor Stephen McKay, from the University of Lincoln highlighted issues affecting the working poor are becoming “just as common and intense” as those affecting people out of work. He introduced the concept of the “under employed”, where people are working less hours than they want or need to get by.
  • Derrick Brown, from the Department for Work and Pensions: the number of people claiming Job Seekers Allowance in the 25-49 age bracket is higher than regional and national figures.
  • The Citizens’ Advice Bureau’s Neil Clurrow said his service was seeing more and more people with complex debt issues, and the most vulnerable are those who cannot access the internet as more help services are delivered that way
  • John Eames, Lincoln Credit Union explained the range of financial services that could be offered from his organisation and covered the issues associated with high interest pay day and doorstep lenders.
  • Tina James from Lincoln Community Larder and Joy Blundell from Food Bank: there has been up to a 170% increase in demand for help.
  • Michele Seddon, Age UK said up to one in three pensioners are living in poverty, in some cases having to choose between eating and heating their homes.

Councillor Karen Lee, Chair of the Community Leadership Scrutiny Committee, commented: “We are committed to our priority of protecting the poorest people in Lincoln and these meetings will help us to find out as much information as we can about the challenges people in the city are facing.

“It is vital we hear from as many partners as possible so that we can create an effective anti-poverty strategy with interventions that help those, either in work or out of work, to make ends meet.”

The next meeting at City Hall on October 17, 6pm, will focus on helping people into work.