Poverty in Fleetwood raises big concerns

Fleetwood MP Cat Smith
Fleetwood MP Cat Smith
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A Fleetwood advocacy worker who helps people struggling with benefit issues has raised concerns with the town’s MP about levels of poverty in the town.

Bill Barrow, of the Fylde Coast Christian Advocacy Service, says groups of people are falling between the cracks after being switched from one type of benefit to another.

He says that it has left some people with no benefit to live on at all and other cases where disabled people are having to apply for Jobseeker’s Allowance and chase jobs they simply cannot do.

And he spoke to Fleetwood MP Cat Smith just days after she had received a worrying report about high levels of child poverty in her constituency.

Ms Smith says that of the 15,652 children living in the Lancaster and Fleetwood constituency, 3,991 of them are living in poverty, according to a report by the Children’s Society.

Mr Barrow, who is non-political, says certain parts of the benefits system need to be looked at.

He said: “We are being over-run by people who are in desperate need because they have been moved from benefits which covered their needs to others which don’t.

“I have had one man who was on Disability Living Allowance who was then told he had to apply for PIP, but he ended up with zero points and didn’t qualify.

“That man is now without an income.

Ms Smith, the Labour MP for Lancaster and Fleetwood, said: “The public sector pay cap must be lifted to avoid further poverty.”