Citizens@Leeds – A plan to tackle poverty and deprivation in Leeds
Proposals which put the citizens of Leeds at the forefront of a new plan to tackle poverty in the city will be considered by senior councillors at a meeting of the executive board in Leeds next week.
The proposals include banning advertising by high cost lenders and providing easier access to a broader set of essential advice services, to help the citizens of Leeds who are either at risk of falling in to poverty or already experiencing the devastating impact of living on the breadline.
Following on from last week’s successful national conference about tackling the issues around high cost lenders, organised by Leeds City Council, the council’s executive board, is now considering a raft of proposals which have been put together to provide solutions to one of the city’s biggest challenges – poverty.
The four propositions cover:
• The need to provide accessible and integrated services:
• The need to help people out of financial hardship:
• The need to help people into work; and
• The need to be responsive to the needs of local communities.
The proposals include the introduction of ‘community hubs’ that provide the right mix of council and partner services each community needs, in the most efficient manner. This will involve a more integrated approach to service delivery and maximise the use of the assets and service points that currently exist across the city including joint service centres, one stop centres, housing management offices, libraries and children’s centres.
To ensure that the services reach the people who need it most, this new approach will also see pop-up services being provided in places like supermarkets and GP surgeries and a mobile provision will also be available. The community hub concept will be initially tested in three existing one stop centres in Harehills, Middleton and Armley.
Councillor Keith Wakefield, leader of Leeds City Council said:
“We want to do all we can to stop people suffering and help them get out of poverty. The best way to do this is by helping people find employment opportunities, make sure they have easy access to all the essential advice and support services and promote sensible low-cost borrowing options.
“These proposals set out a thorough and sensible approach to tackling poverty and deprivation - one of the biggest challenges our city is facing. By focusing our services on the people who need it most we can start to improve the lives and futures of people who find themselves living on the breadline.”
The council’s proposals aim to support people to achieve affordable renting, affordable fuel, financial inclusion, digital inclusion, live healthy lives and improve employability.
Particularly vulnerable groups of people such as young people leaving council care and ex-members of the armed forces who are experiencing hardship would be specially targeted for assistance under the new proposals.
As well as extending the council’s campaign to tackle high-cost lenders, by banning advertisements on council facilities and other assets the council is also looking to develop agreements with key partners across the city to put in place similar arrangements. At the same time the council will support the credit union to develop its services and accessibility as a more affordable option for citizens.
Cllr Wakefield added:
“Unfortunately high-cost lenders seem to feed off those people who can least afford it, and are in fact pushing some people into poverty – rather than helping them, as they may claim. We have already started sharing our ambitious plans to rid the city of these unscrupulous lenders, at our very successful conference last week. We are hopeful that our ‘Take a stand’ campaign, announced at the conference, will encourage more cities to look at how they can stop the activities of predatory lenders in their communities.”
By using the new community hubs, the council will deliver improved training and employment advice services to help people into training and employment, focused on those who need it most and in places where it is most accessible.
For media enquiries, please contact:
Emma Whittell, Leeds City Council press office, on (0113) 2474713