Report executive summary
Enfield is home to over 300,000 residents. The Borough is young and diverse and located within a dynamic and prosperous global city. Both the size and diversity of the population has increased rapidly in recent years and is set to increase further. People the Commission spoke to were proud of their diverse and vibrant community.
These are solid foundations for the Borough to thrive and prosper in the coming years. However, realising the potential of the Borough will man tackling the gnawing poverty and inequality.
Meeting this challenge will not be easy after a decade of austerity and the changing spatial patterns of poverty in London which are being acutely felt in Enfield. As the Commission's work shows, a successful future requires shared priorities and inclusive growth. Indeed, over the last four years, Enfield has risen from being the 12th to the 9th most deprived London borough between 2016 and 2019. 27 per cent of households in the Borough are in poverty after housing costs and one in three children are living in poverty.
Against this backdrop, this independent Commission was established to examine what can be done to tackle poverty and inequality. The Commission focused on three areas: Living, Learning and Eaming - all vital components of a strategy designed to tackling poverty and inequality and improve people's well-being and life chances.
Over a six-month period, the Commission reviewed evidence, listened to stakeholders and heard testimonies from local residents on the challenges and possible solutions. Based on this evidence the Commission has set out twenty-seven recommendations which it believes will make a significant difference to the lives of Enfield's poorest residents and help the Borough continue to be an attractive and inclusive place to live.
Tough new action to reform privately rented housing
The Council have ambitious plans to build 19,000 homes over the next ten years with half genuinely affordable in relation to earnings. In the meantime, privately rented housing will continue to play a major role in housing those on lower incomes. The council should move ahead with a licensing scheme for landlords to increase the quality of accommodation whilst also reducing unfair evictions and discrimination against tenants claiming benefits, and an end to the 'no DSS' culture.
A new integrated health and wellbeing centre for the East of the Borough
Health inequality between the east and west of the Borough is stark. A woman in Edmonton Green can expect to live 8.6 years less than a wornan living in Highlands Ward. People in Edmonton Green can expect to live 66.6% of their life in good heath, compared to people in Winchmore Hill, who can expect to live 81.6% of their life in good heath. Up to 16,644 local residents are not registered with a GP practice and use accident and emergency for healthcare. Building a new integrated health and wellbeing centre on the North Middlesex hospital site will help meet the health needs of the East of the Borough and the new Meridian Water development and improve access to out of hours mental health services. This must remain a priority for the Borough.
Revitalise youth services in Enfield
Serious youth violence is a huge concern across London and in Enfield there is more than one such incident every day. Many London Boroughs have been forced to cut their youth service budgets because of cuts from central government. The Council should take an early intervention approach to keeping young people safe and help them make positive life choices by prioritising investment in youth services and outreach work.
Poverty-proof Enfield's schools
It is crucial that children from poorer families are not discriminated against because of their lack of familial resources. The Council and local schools -pshould work together to make sure all of Enfield's schools are 'poverty-proofed', restoring a uniform grant, eliminating period poverty and removing the stigma of growing up in poverty.
Set a target to reduce low pay within Enfield
One in five workers in Enfield are on low pay, twice the London average. Poverty reduction should be at the heart of the new economic development strategy, which should set a target to reduce low pay within the Borough. In setting out its ambition to create future prosperity in the Borough, the Council and public sector partners should show leadership by ensuing the London Living Wage is paid.
Addressing poverty a top priority for Enfield Council (Enfield Council 20 January 2020)
Poverty report spells out need for funding (Enfield Dispatch 31 January 2020)