27th May, 2018

Social mobility to get £30,000 cash boost after poor ranking

Rob George 8th Feb, 2018

COUNCIL chiefs agreed a £30,000 cash injection to tackle social mobility across Wychavon and to freeze its part of the Council Tax after giving the green light to its budget for the coming year.

The cash boost was among 14 ‘promises’ agreed by executive board members on Wednesday and comes two months after a report placed the district 310th out of 324 local authorites for social mobility in the UK.

A county-wide summit will be held next month to address the problems raised by the Social Mobility Commission report and council chiefs revealed the £30,000 could be backed up with further funding in the future.

Pershore Coun Charles Tucker tabled the proposal for the cash to be included in the budget.

“We now expect the council to work with several other partners, including the County Council, the LEP and charities such as the Princes Trust to put together a programme targeting the most affected groups, such as children and teenagers from low income families,” he said.

“There is also the possibility of obtaining funding for the project from the European Social Fund which has allocated £16million to Worcestershire. This will disappear in 2019 when we leave the EU, so it is vital that we act now if we are to have a chance of getting some of this money and using it to make a real difference for the people we represent.”

A three year promise to tackle littering and use of plastics, proposed by Lib Dem leader Coun Margaret Rowley, was also supported by Conservative councillors.

Work with local groups to set up multi-sports hubs for Droitwich, Evesham and Pershore are also among the plans as well as extra support for people facing Universal Credit and those at risk of becoming homeless.

More funding for apprenticeships as well as a bid to improve opportunities for green travel with more car charging points and more cycle routes across the district are also included.

Council chiefs also hope to install adult changing places for disabled and older people in public toilets in Broadway, Droitwich, Evesham and Pershore by the end of 2019.

A village of culture competition will be trialled for the next three years in a bid to boost rural communities while a major blueprint to promote tourism and increase overnight stays in the area will also be drawn up.

Council leader Coun Linda Robinson, said: “We’re in a strong financial position and the board feels that by continuing with efficiencies and other income streams we can avoid financially burdening our residents with Council Tax increases this year.”

“We have a lot of exciting promises on offer for Wychavon residents for the coming year. We’re not only supporting those in the greatest need, but also extending areas of leisure and green travel investment which will benefit so many.

The proposals will be voted on at a meeting of the full council on Wednesday, February 21.

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