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SALFORD PERFECT POVERTY STORM LOOMING
 

Star date: 23rd April 2013

BEDROOM TAX…CRISIS LOAN CUTS…LACK OF AFFORDABLE HOUSING…UNEMPLOYMENT… SALFORD SET TO SUFFER

"It is expected that the number of rough sleepers to increase as the result of the new legislative changes introduced by the government" Salford Council  

Latest reports by Salford City Council show horrendous predictions for the near future with the old, young and abused all set to suffer as a result of ConDem Government welfare changes, the grim economic outlook and, er, Salford Council's own policies…

Full details here…


Virtually every report coming out of Salford Council at the moment is showing that Salford's social problems are going to get worse. And worse. And worse…

Last week, for instance, the 37 page Salford Homelessness Strategy 2013-2018, set out the `key challenges' the city faces, through both the ConDem Government's so-called `welfare reforms' (Bedroom Tax etc) and the ongoing crisis of a "lack of suitable affordable housing".

Some of the figures produced make horrendous reading…In April 2012, 12.4% of all households in Salford – that's 12,222 households – were on the Council's official housing waiting list, of which almost 500, or almost 8%, were homeless.

It's set to get worse, with the report adding: "Changes brought in by welfare reform will have a huge impact on an increasing number of households which would inevitably lead to more homelessness."

The strategy document states that, while the trend for homelessness acceptance was going down until 2010, there's been a 13.7% increase since then, with the majority of struggling households having children.

The document also lists increasing housing problems for single non-priority people, young people who are leaving care or who are parents, older people with support needs, those at risk from domestic violence, alcohol issues and mental health issues.

The `strategy' highlights a direct link between the ConDem Government's Welfare Reform Act 2012 and homelessness for increasing numbers of Salford residents…

"The reforms proposed are intended to protect the most vulnerable, create the right incentives to get more people into work resulting in a fairer benefit and tax credit system" it states "however our initial analysis indicates that welfare reform will have a detrimental effect on many of the high risk groups."

While Salford had, officially, only ten rough sleepers in a count last November…"It is expected that the number of rough sleepers to increase as the result of the new legislative changes introduced by the government."

To make the problems worse, the strategy states that there is "An increasing lack of affordable housing options" which "would more likely result in more homeless people and rough sleepers".

The strategy reckons that Salford needs 1,000 affordable homes per year being built to cope. But Salford Council's own policies and practices have helped stoke the crisis.

What the report doesn't state is that Salford Council has been busy flattening its affordable housing, initially through the last Government's discredited Pathfinder project, with a vision to "create a mixed housing offer with a range of types, values and tenures that will meet the aspirations of both new and existing residents"…Or as the Salford Star put it "to bulldoze loads of existing, affordable houses, and build new expensive ones for Manchester commuters without pissing off the people already living in those areas" (see here).

Whole streets full of affordable housing were destroyed in Langworthy, Charlestown and Lower Kersal, and Broughton (see latest Lower Broughton Housing Desert article here), while next week Salford Mayor Ian Stewart is set to sign the demolition notice for affordable towerblock flats in Pendleton, as part of the Pendleton PFI – where, again, affordable housing is to be replaced by new houses for private sale (see here).

Meanwhile, Salford was one of the first councils in the country to tear up its compulsion for 20% of new housing developments to be affordable (see here).

The Council also agreed to the Government's `convergence' of social rents that will see average social rents rise from £67.95 in 2012 to £73.74 a week by 2015… despite Assistant Mayor, Paul Dennett's minuted concerns "of how the proposed increase will affect certain groups the hardest, and he queried the robustness of the methodology used as to whether it has taken into consideration the present economic downturn" (click here)

It all adds up to a housing crisis which the Salford Homelessness Strategy seeks to mitigate through "improved affordable housing provision, and an effective private rented sector" (see the full document – click here and download `Homelessness Strategy').

On top of this, Salford's Social Fund, which is used to "ease the hardship of poor and vulnerable households", is being changed and slashed by 13%, to 2005-6 levels, by the ConDem Government.

The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) is transferring most of the cut funding to Salford Council, which will be left to sort out this "last resort safety net in cases of extreme hardship".

Under its new Salford Discretionary Support Scheme (SDSS), the Council will be "supporting people through the welfare reform changes to mitigate the effects on vulnerable people and to support those in greatest need" and "given continuing pressure on household finances, it would be sensible to assume an increased number of applications"… except that, because of Government cuts, there's not enough funding to go around.

The Council report on the changes to the Social Fund states that people will be signposted to foodbanks, while the `High' risk assessment at the end of the report states chillingly…

"The weight of demand and potential for an increasing number of claims made to the existing scheme demonstrate the continuing level of financial hardship being felt by households in the city.

"The removal of this safety net will have potentially extremely serious consequences for vulnerable households" it adds "This is particularly the case given the reduction in funding being made available to local authorities. Failure to deliver an effective scheme will potentially increase costs to the authority in other ways, including levels of family breakdown and stress, higher crime, increased poverty and distress including recourse to expensive doorstep lending and homelessness."

And these are the conclusions from just two reports out in the last few weeks. Another, earlier report on Salford citizens' welfare made even grimmer reading (see here and see here), while it's going to be harder to get Welfare Rights and Debt Advice (see here)

Increased rents, Bedroom Tax, high unemployment, lack of affordable housing and the slashing of safety nets all add up to the perfect poverty storm in Salford.

 

See also previous Salford Star article Homeless  Presentations To Salford Council Rocket - click here

* graphic by Anya K

not a brain dead labour voter wrote
at 13:58:20 on 06 May 2013
is this the same Michael FALSE from donigate fame, come to Salford to clean up Salford, the same person who has asked for this labour run council to be investigated for it's behind closed door dealings and missing millions, oh how the worm has turned, he's now a fully paid up member of labour/ Ian Stewart fan club, sorry Michael you know jack shit about Salford people or what they go through, especially from an outsider who, I believe lives on the privileged side of the Salford quays
 
Bernard Brough wrote
at 07:10:18 on 26 April 2013
Gambling is good? I'll retire to Bedlam. Mr Felse might I suggest that you stop digging before the hole gets too deep.
 
Winston Smith wrote
at 22:14:53 on 25 April 2013
Erm, well I...er...yes Michael. Let's also not forget the 'good side' of out of control drinking done by millions every week - maybe the Mayor's Expert Safe and Sound Army(!?) would benefit from that, too. And possibly a crystal meth and crack trolley to 'increase the effect' during council meetings. Doh! Silly old Winston now I've gone and broken that UK Council Risk Suggestion Law that only you know about, I fell for that one didn't I
 
Michael Felse wrote
at 12:32:40 on 25 April 2013
Winston forgets to mention the good side of gambling, done by millions in the UK every week on the Lottery that creates opportunities in sport with its grants raised from our gambling public. They have an expert army, as does our Mayor, to make sure all is safe and sound. Personally I would not compare Salford to such gambling schemes, but maybe not a bad idea if we can increase the effect. Pretty sure it is against UK law to even suggest Council's can change from the planned daily progress in exchange for a risky alternative.
 
Hester Lampwick wrote
at 10:18:07 on 25 April 2013
What other reason could anybody need for not voting Labour than the name "Michael Felse".
 
Winston Smith wrote
at 06:14:03 on 25 April 2013
Mr Felse, all I am asking for is the metrics - if the mayor thinks spending 'x' amount of money will create 'y' number of jobs by date 'z', let's see the working out, otherwise it's just gambling. No other walk of life gets away with it so lightly. E.g. builders. They are also subject to official scrutiny, but would you have one just start building a house for you without actual plans, costs and timescales?!? Just reports 'as we go along' and 'we'll see where we end up'?!? And when you complain you're either ignored or somebody (who seems to want a job with the builder) accuses you of being hostile and implying you're not worthy of an 'expensive' explanation. Well???
 
Do a Merry wrote
at 06:13:58 on 25 April 2013
Michael Felse Please do a Merry---Stfu and stick to twitter.
 
Bernard Brough wrote
at 20:17:04 on 24 April 2013
So if I follow you logic Mr Felse only those who agree with the establishment should be told anything. But you are not interested in logic, you are just another would be career politician doing & saying whatever it takes to get up the greasy pole. There are few policians in the country with any true convictions & none in Salford.
 
Bernard Brough wrote
at 20:16:47 on 24 April 2013
Tory boy give us something positive going on in Salford.
 
FACT wrote
at 17:50:46 on 24 April 2013
Creating jobs Mr Felse? What you mean like the new park they are making, you must be joking any work barring cutting the grass and picking up litter is contracted out to Horticon which for your information is a major contractor that does not even have a base in Salford.
 
Michael Felse wrote
at 17:49:32 on 24 April 2013
Winston, as you asked allow us to such eggs. It is pure fact that any local authority is subject to a weight of scrutiny that includes the whole range of expectations in your statement. The obvious is why would any Mayor put out explanations to hostile and negative bloggers. Until the intellectual writers decide to be understanding they deserve nothing but the results of progress without a costly reporting.
 
Winston Smith wrote
at 14:10:59 on 24 April 2013
No, Michael, the 'attacks' on the Mayor go to prove that Labour are in a position where they can assume they'll never get kicked out so can do whatever self serving things they bleeding well like without any comeback. If the Mayor really did have realistic plans to improve the place, he should easily be able to demonstrate it - there would be openness, timescales, accountability, properly analysed costs and clear, quantifiable goals. But it's all just hot air and hobby horses, isn't it???
 
Michael Felse wrote
at 12:07:45 on 24 April 2013
The constant attacks on our elected Mayor only goes to prove that the opposition forces are not worthy of his position. What must be understood is that unless our Mayor uses our money to attract new business into Salford then there will not be the jobs that all the opposition are shouting to see. Give our Mayor the credit for being bold in making the best decisions to improve Salford as a forward thinking great place to live, work, grow and to play serious sport.
 
Winston Smith wrote
at 09:44:16 on 24 April 2013
Homelessness increasing so spend £3 million on a park. The Mayor and his consultants are well ahead of the curve on this one...
 
life is loud wrote
at 09:43:55 on 24 April 2013
It sounds like scaremongering lets wait and see what happens
 
Ken wrote
at 06:55:43 on 24 April 2013
Salford council destroyed thousandsof sound houses during the regeneration programme I personally told Mr Merry what a terrible mistake to demolish stock brick houses just to please speculators and building companys.Alas now it is to late
 
Stuart Charlesworth wrote
at 06:55:38 on 24 April 2013
Time to remove the present council and replace it with a fairer alternative. And no not ukip or bnp. Green party?
 
blueliam wrote
at 06:55:34 on 24 April 2013
Anything good happening in Salford these days or is it all doom, gloom and socialist heartache? I see they made the blocks of flats near the Renault garage prettier....
 
Chris Taylor wrote
at 06:48:54 on 24 April 2013
The above inflation increases in rents can only detrimental in the long run as most social housing tenants are on benefits, other people pay their rent. Furthermore those on benefits will inevitably find it much harder to come off benefits. Therefore the so called bedroom tax can not be a tax, it is a reduction in benefits. The opposite to a tax.
 
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