‘Postcode lottery’

PEOPLE living in so-called poor areas will lose out in a council bid to encourage residents to provide services for free.

That’s the view of a Worcestershire politician, who has accused County Hall of presiding over a “postcode lottery” with its controversial Act Local project.

Worcestershire County Council wants volunteers to help run services such as trimming hedges, cutting grass, spreading salt and staffing libraries or community centres.

Bosses reckon they can save millions of pounds by allowing parish councils, householders or other community groups to take over things traditionally provided in-house.

But Councillor Fran Oborski says the project favours middle class areas because more deprived parts of the county struggle to find willing volunteers.

She said: “It’s quite obvious that middle class areas have the ability to organise and fund-raise that some poor areas don’t. It will lead to a general deterioration in services and I think it will affect those people the most.”

She is one of four politicians to put her name to a council motion urging the authority to avoid “accusations of postcode lottery”.

Act Local is still in its early days, but an example of where it has worked so far include Peopleton, where the parish council has installed new drainage, and volunteer-led Pershore library. The comments have been refuted by volunteers, who say people from all walks of life get involved with their communities.

 

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