Brent’s Cabinet commits to clear actions to reduce poverty

9 December 2020

Brent Council’s Cabinet has accepted Delivery Plans based on the Independent Poverty Commission’s recommendations.

The Poverty Commission, chaired by Lord Richard, independent cross bench peer and social housing champion, was launched in January 2020. The Commission analysed the causes and consequences of poverty in Brent and put forward their recommendations in August.

The council approved all the recommendations, and has developed Delivery Plans that will focus on the following key themes:

  • Housing

  • Economy and jobs

  • Financial inclusion and welfare

The Poverty Commission report points to an acute shortage of social housing and commended the council’s affordable homes programme. The Delivery Plans will focus on existing work to deliver 5,000 affordable homes including 1,000 council homes by 2024, a review of the private rented sector, as well as a push to tackle homelessness in the borough.

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the detrimental impact of poverty on people’s lives, and the affect that poverty can have on health. The council will continue to work with health partners in mitigating the impact of the pandemic including targeted communications and working with local community leaders. 

With 15% of furloughed workers and high rates of in-work poverty due to low pay, the council has launched a “Keep Brent Working” campaign to support residents facing job losses throughout the pandemic. There is also a focus on recruitment of 16-24 year olds and supporting residents with digital inclusion and getting online.

Work is underway in developing a Youth and Community Strategy for young people and to tackle fuel poverty which is a key part of the council’s Climate Emergency Strategy. 

The Delivery Plans will be overseen by a consultative group with representation from elected members, local, regional and community organisations.  

Cllr Eleanor Southwood, Cabinet Member for Housing & Welfare Reform at Brent Council said: “Poverty is not a new problem for Brent and it is not one we can solve overnight. These Delivery Plans will make sure we are heading in the right direction and have a long-term plan in place. To make a difference, everyone with our borough’s future wellbeing at heart will have to work together, come up with ideas, share resources and learn from one another. The Commission’s report shows this can make a real difference and the council is committed to doing its part.”