August 9, 2011 10.36 am This story is over 147 months old

How the City Council priorities changed

Council changes: Councillor Ric Metcalfe reflects on the state of the city and the changes he hopes to enforce while elected.

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By City of Lincoln Council Leader

— On August 15, 100 days after being elected in the top job, Councillor Ric Metcalfe, Leader of the City of Lincoln Council, will be accepting your questions all day live on The Lincolnite. To submit your question, visit the Leaders Live page.

Following local elections on May 5 2011, the political control of the City Council changed resulting in significant changes to the priorities of the council.

The new council has identified five new priorities, these are:

  • Reducing poverty and disadvantage
  • Increasing the supply of affordable housing
  • Improving the council’s performance as a housing landlord
  • Reducing the city’s carbon footprint
  • Making the council a more fit for purpose organisation

These priorities reflect a powerful commitment to fairness and social justice that we have as an administration.

Lincoln is a relatively poor place. In some areas of the city, more than fifty per cent of children are living in poverty. Low-income families suffer higher rates of health disadvantage, their children are likely to under attain at school and enjoy less job and other opportunities in life.

Pensioner poverty in Lincoln is significant. There are large numbers of pensioners living in fuel poverty spending at least ten per cent of their income on fuel. Some pensioner deaths relate at least in part to inadequately heated homes this cannot be acceptable.

This why the new council is mounting an intensive campaign during the autumn to get pensioners to claim the benefits to which they are entitled, but are not claiming for a variety of reasons.

Few people can now afford to buy their own house, renting in the private sector is becoming prohibitively expensive and the council’s housing list gets longer.

Good quality, affordable housing is fundamental to peoples’ health and well-being and we are determined to improve the current situation and will begin this year building council houses again for the first time for twenty years.

The council is landlord to nearly 8,000 homes in the city. Our tenants, who meet the full cost of running council housing, deserve the very best service we can provide for them. We want council housing to be a choice people make because it offers high quality affordable homes in neighbourhoods that people can be proud of living in.

We believe the council must lead the way in making Lincoln’s contribution to the global challenge of climate change. The contribution of man-made carbon emissions to the problem is now widely accepted. For the sake of our children and for economic and social justice reasons we must play our part in the crucial agenda.

We will be looking to reduce the council’s own carbon footprint and to get all other public, private and third sector partners to do the same.

The world is changing rapidly and the council cannot stand still. It needs to understand the changing needs of the people it exists to serve and be ready to change and adapt so it remains responsive to people’s needs.

We need to spend people’s money wisely and to find ways of empowering local communities and strengthening the accountability of ourselves and other public bodies to local people.

The City Council does not provide all of the services which people need, but it should speak up for the people of Lincoln on any of the things which affect them, and be a community leader in fighting for what is fair and just for the city.

Councillor Ric Metcalfe is the Labour Leader of the City of Lincoln Council.