With one in four children in Lincoln living in poverty, and one in five city households living in fuel poverty, the City Council and partners are setting out a new strategy, beginning with a conference to highlight the issue.
The Lincoln Poverty Conference took place on February 26 at the Alive Conference Centre in Lincoln, with more than 130 partners and stakeholders from a number of agencies in attendance.
The aim was to identify any gaps in provision, seek to remove duplication of efforts and recognise the good work already taking place to help people.
Councillor Karen Lee, Chair of the Community Leadership Scrutiny Committee at the City Council told The Lincolnite: ”The most startling thing for me in my work has been seeing the effects of child poverty in Lincoln. Across the city, 24% of all children are in poverty.
“Parents are finding they can’t afford to give their children school uniforms or feed them a healthy diet, they can’t afford to heat their houses properly. Fuel poverty is also a huge problem in the whole of Lincolnshire.
“We have got 130 people here today and all of those people are doing something. We want people to be more joined up in their approach and we want to see if we can be doing things even better.
“There is a perception that poverty purely hits people on benefits, and this is simply not true. There are a lot of people who are classed as the working poor too.”
Assistant Director of Corporate Review and Development at City of Lincoln Council, Simon Walters, said: “Something that has come up today is that we hoped individual efforts weren’t being duplicated.
“The conference has brought together different organisations and enabled them to work together and combine their services for the future. It’s about using the resources we have got in this current climate more effectively.”
The conference was held a day after the City of Lincoln Council voted to raise council housing rent by 4.67%.
“We do have to raise rents in accordance with certain policies”, said Mr Walters.” If you look at council rent rates now compared with the private sector they are relatively low.”
Councillor Lee added: “It is worrying because as rents go up, those people who were affected by the so-called bedroom tax, suffer even more. That’s why it is important that we look into housing as an element of the conference today.”
According to the City of Lincoln Council’s Driver’s Report for Winter 2013, Lincoln has the second highest rate of children living in low-income households among neighbouring districts with a rate of 23.8%.
The Birchwood (29), Boultham Moor (73) and St Giles (52) areas of Lincoln were featured within the top 5% of deprived areas in England, based on children living in low-income households.
With a rate of 16.3%, Lincoln had the highest fuel poverty rate amongst its nearest neighbours.
Carholme, Abbey and Park had the highest numbers of households experiencing fuel poverty. This was followed by Castle, Minster and Boultham.
Three areas of Lincoln are within the top 5% for income deprivation affecting older people. These are in St. Giles, Boultham Moor and an area to the north east of the Boultham ward.