Town welcomes poverty rate fall

3/5/12- Hastings Council Elections.  Peter Chowney ENGSUS00120120405081856
3/5/12- Hastings Council Elections. Peter Chowney ENGSUS00120120405081856

Hastings Borough Council’s anti-poverty strategy is proving effective, despite the town having the second highest rate of poverty in the South East.

The effects of the strategy have seen the poverty rate drop from 31 per cent to 30 per cent from 2012 to 2014.

The council’s anti-poverty strategy was put in place in 2011 and involves teaming up with a number of agencies around Hastings with the goal of reducing poverty and giving the most deprived wards the security of work and secure housing.

Hastings Borough Council leader Peter Chowney, said: “Poverty in Hastings is concentrated in a few areas, in particular the larger social housing estates. Some of these areas are among the very poorest in the country when it comes to income and employment deprivation.

“We have produced an anti-poverty strategy, which is approved by the Local Strategic Partnership, and outlines how different agencies will work together to do what they can to combat poverty. There is little the council can do to address the underlying causes of poverty, which stem from deeper inequalities in the way wealth is created and distributed and require changes at a national level to make any significant difference.”

The council has made steps to reduce poverty through the strategy, one of these being the Own Grown scheme. This is where the council co-ordinates with employers, training providers and schools to get people into work.

Mr Chowney said: “We have also run grant programmes for small businesses that are aimed at creating new jobs. However, council funding for doing anything other than providing core services has been cut back dramatically over the past few years as part of the government’s austerity programme, so there’s much less money around for these sorts of initiatives.”

Amber Rudd, MP for Hastings and Home Secretary, said: “These statistics are an encouraging indication of the successful ongoing regeneration of Hastings. Tackling poverty is one my key priorities, in terms of improving both standards of living and the opportunities available to our children and grandchildren.

“As a government we are committed to fighting injustice and the causes of poverty. Of course there is more to be done, but I welcome the encouraging improvement we have seen.”

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