Poverty levels in Weston-super-Mare still 'unacceptable' despite decline

PUBLISHED: 09:00 16 May 2017

The number of people in poverty in Central ward has decreased. (Picture: Getty Images)

The number of people in poverty in Central ward has decreased. (Picture: Getty Images)

Archant

An improvement in poverty levels in central Weston-super-Mare 'does not tell the full story' and the situation remains 'unacceptable', according to a North Somerset councillor.

Latest figures from the Office for National Statistics show the percentage of Central ward residents in poverty after housing costs dipped to 34.8 per cent from 2012 to 2014.

The Mercury reported in January up to four in 10 people were living below the breadline in parts of Weston.

But Central ward councillor Richard Nightingale believes more work is needed to tackle inequality in Weston, despite the decrease.

He said: “Statistics do not always tell the full story. The reality is there is still much to been done and the situation remains unacceptable.

“We should not forget that these are historic, complex issues, which will be difficult to overcome.

“We have however, started on the right road and I am determined that the right resolutions are found for residents.”

Cllr Nightingale added the council has conducted an investigation into inequality in Weston, prompting an inquiry into NHS England and ‘a lack of health services in the area’.

The council says it is ‘developing a co-ordinated approach to reducing the inequalities gap’.

A spokesman added: “Community development, health and wellbeing, community safety, housing, employment, education, transport and planning are all being considered as part of this process.

“Longer-term measures are also under way which are expected, over time, to reduce levels of inequality. In Central ward, the town centre vision is delivering additional employment opportunities, better quality housing, and an improved local environment.”

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