One in 12 residents living in poverty

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ONE in 12 of Rother residents is caught in the poverty trap the council’s Cabinet heard on Monday.

The worst affected people include children, young people, older people, single-parent families, the recently unemployed and families which had experienced several generations of unemployment.

The statistics were described as “desperately sad” by Cllr Bridget George, who moved a report that will see the council’s services overview and scrutiny committee reviewing actions to help deal with deprivation.

She said: “Anything we can do to improve the lot of those people so affected must be done.” Cabinet members agreed that deprivation must, in future, be a consideration whenever policies or programmes are prepared.

Cllr Angharad Davies said: “We must look very carefully at what has been achieved. We mustn’t just let this drop into the long grass.”

Sidley in Bexhill has been recognised as one of the most deprived areas, and is due to receive £1 million from the Big Lottery to help bring about improvements,

But Cllr Sue Prochak said the award of such money could be “a postcode lottery”, so that some areas would simply not get such opportunities. She added: “80 per cent of the most deprived people are spread out in rural areas.”

She hoped it might be possible to “signpost” agencies within Rother to which people in need could turn for help, and highlighted the work of the East Sussex Volunteer Forum for the support it was giving to those living in poverty.

Cllr Brian Kentfield said there were also other areas within Rother which were “desperately in need”.

These included Bexhill Central, parts of Rye and Eastern Rother including Rye Harbour, Winchelsea Beach and Camber, as well as spreading into other Bexhill wards.