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SALFORD LABOUR COUNCIL’S NEW TORY STYLE DICKENSIAN DIY WELFARE
 

Star date: 25th June 2014

MASSIVE CUTS TO VULNERABLE ARE SOLD AS `AN IMPROVED EXPERIENCE FOR SALFORD'S CITIZENS'!

Salford Council is introducing a new Tory style, Dickensian Do It Yourself welfare culture, with almost £4.4million cuts to services for the city's vulnerable people.

Incredibly the proposals - which include slashing transport to day centres, cutting services for the homeless and those with mental health problems, charging for Care On Call and more - are being spun as offering "more opportunities for self reliance for its population" and "an improved experience for Salford's citizens".

The Tory double-speak report has been produced by Salford's Labour Council, backed by Labour Mayor, Ian Stewart, who's looking more and more like the man who swallowed David Cameron.

Full details here…


A staggering report produced for Salford Council's Assistant Mayor for Adults and Older People's Services, and to be rubber stamped by City Mayor Ian Stewart and his Cabinet on 30th June, is breathtaking in its Tory double-speak.

The report, listing final proposals for almost £4.4million cuts to public services for vulnerable adults in the city, admits that the proposals "are likely to affect some of the most marginalised citizens in the city", before proposing almost Dickensian solutions.

For instance, the Council's `service offer' to vulnerable adults is to be `redesigned', and the report cites the Integrated Care Programme for Older People, which "will ensure that our way of working progresses from deficit and dependency to independence"… while the overall cuts offer "more opportunities for self reliance for its population" and "an improved experience for Salford's citizens".

The `improved experience' means a 30% reduction in funding, and "that the Council will have to cease providing some things, charge more for others and ask other partners or communities to provide alternatives instead. This will mean that some families and friends will need to increase some of the support they already provide for some individuals.

"Communities will need to shift their expectations of what the public sector can do and of the City Council's role" it adds "Some will need to lead or co-produce ways to solve their own community issues."

While correctly blaming the ConDem Government for the cuts in funding, the rhetoric and spin being used by the Labour Council might well have come straight from the Tory Party manifesto and David Cameron's `Big Society' con.

A huge consultation undertaken by the Council showed that neither the general public, nor the people who use the services agree with the cuts. But they are to be approved anyway - give or take a few tweaks. The overwhelming theme running through the report is that poverty produces the need for public services for vulnerable adults…and that all but the very worst cases will be left to their own devices…


Care On Call

This is an emergency 24 hour, seven day a week telephone and mobile response service to over 4,500 people in Salford, mostly over 65, responding to alarms when they have falls in their homes and other problems.

At the moment the service is 64% subsidised by the Council to keep it affordable – but the Council now intends to withdraw all its funding and charge vulnerable people the full amount: £4.82 per week for the standard service and up to £10 a week for enhanced visits.

The Community Impact Assessment "identified poverty as a key factor due to
the high number of people who are in receipt of qualifying benefit which entitles them to a subsidised service
", and in the consultation the majority of people who responded didn't think it was fair to charge the full amount, with 123 people saying they couldn't afford it.

What happens now? Do those who can't afford to pay just lie on the floor for days hoping someone will come to their rescue while enjoying their "improved experience" and "independence"?

Passenger Transport Unit

209 people with learning disabilities, physical disabilities and mental health problems use the Council's transport to get to day care centres or Granville respite centre, which includes specialist drivers and escorts.

The Council intends to slash virtually the whole service, despite the vast majority of people using the service plus their carers and families stating that the cut wasn't fair, and raising "concerns about reliability/availability/costs and safety".

The Community Impact Assessment "highlighted that this proposal will disproportionately impact people with learning difficulties" but the Council is going ahead, scrapping twelve buses, two smaller vehicles and 24 staff  -  leaving those with learning disabilities, physical disabilities and mental health problems to get Ring and Ride, a taxi, ordinary public transport or to rely on lifts from friends and family…

A totally "improved experience", no doubt…

(see Noreen's Story - below*)

Mental Health Support

154 people in the community with mental health problems currently get `floating' support from highly skilled workers who, for two or three hours a week, help them recover from their illness. The Council will now only help around forty people for two or three hours a week, for three to six months, with 16 jobs slashed in the process. And the rest? They can use the `Pathway To Independence Model' to fend for themselves.

The Community Impact Assessment "identified poverty as a key factor in poor mental health" and added that "There are a range of service and support networks in the communities that can help access the support available". These include things like voluntary social support groups or independent companies like Making Space which is currently putting leaflets in Salford community centres advertising floating support.

In the consultation, 91% of respondents who use the service disagreed with the proposals, as did 88% of carers and 86% of family and friends.

Housing Options and Supported Tenancy Service

Both these services deal with preventing homelessness or helping people to retain their home. They work with the poor and the vulnerable, including young people leaving care or at risk, people suffering domestic abuse, people with drug and alcohol related problems and those who just can't afford to pay their bills.

The Council originally wanted to axe the Supported Tenancy Service and slash Housing Options to a minimum. 86% of horrified organisations which deal with related issues disagreed with the Council's proposals, concerned that it "would increase homelessness" and leave people sleeping rough.

Faced with such a backlash, the Council is now `only' slashing the Supported Tenancy service by 50% and retaining a bit more of its Housing Options Service – but it's being paid for by shutting Petrie Court which provides supported accommodation for 16-24 single homeless people.

The Council's Salford Homelessness Strategy 2013-18 stated that "teenage parents, young people leaving care, and at risk have the highest rate of support need…With the introduction of the new government reforms, it is more likely that this group would need more support than any other at risk group".

Home Improvement Agency

This provides housing support to 75 elderly, vulnerable people who are poor or have no families to help out. It provides advice on tackling major or minor repairs to their homes or with moving to a more suitable home. 

The Council intends to halve the current service, despite the Community Impact Assessment listing the fall out…including that "Vulnerable people will wait longer for properties to be repaired; Increased risk of hospital admission and delayed discharge; Detrimental impact on health and wellbeing; Increased poverty – the longer a person stays in a large property which is falling into disrepair, the more they spend, the less they can afford to maintain the property and the worse the repairs get, yet they cannot afford to move…".

…Which will give Salford's elderly and vulnerable even more time to wallow in their "improved experience" and "independence"…

Deafness Support Service

The original intention was to shut this lifeline for the deaf, until it was pointed out that it would cost the Council more in interpreters than it would save. So, instead, the Council is closing the Deaf Link drop-in service and keeping its Communicator Guide service, which only deals with those assessed as having substantial or critical needs.

The Council report states that everyone using the service have low incomes and the Community Impact Assessment adds that "People with sensory impairments in Salford will be unable to access the services provided by anyone other than public bodies unless they can afford to pay for an interpreter or they have substantial or critical social care needs".

During one of the consultation sessions, the Assistant Mayor heard how deaf people feel they are "an excluded group who have to fight against discrimination". The Assistant Mayor obviously didn't hear what they were saying…

Salford Offender Service

This service gives housing support and advice to offenders and those at risk of offending, with the aim of reducing homelessness and stopping them offending again, with obvious plusses for the community.

The Council intends to stop all funding, despite the Community Impact Assessment stating that the impact could be negative for the city including "Offenders being housed in inappropriate areas; increase in failed tenancies, eviction and homelessness, and an increase in re-offending".

As a result, the concept of `self help' and `independence' could be taken to Dickensian musical proportions… `You've got to pick a pocket or two…'

 

The overall report concludes with the understatement that the "reforms" are "likely to affect some of the most marginalised citizens in the city". Indeed this is proved by the Council's own breakdown of responses to its consultation which shows that respondees were heavily located in Salford's poorest areas – Langworthy, Irwell Riverside and Little Hulton.

These are the very people who rely on public services – those with the least wealth and support. Yet a Labour Council is supposed to look after these citizens, otherwise some people might ask `What is the point of a Labour Council?...Is it to build fountains, bridges, support rugby clubs, subsidise office blocks and posh apartments?'

The Council report tells the community "to shift expectations of the public sector and of the City Council's role" and "to lead and solve their own community issues"…

…It talks of "redefining the offer to vulnerable adults" and "new ways of doing business" and shifting "from provider to commissioning" (ie privatising) with "value for money"…

…It talks of "reforms" and "independence" and "an improved experience for Salford's citizens"…

The language could have come straight from some Tory Minister's mouth. Labour Mayor, Ian Stewart, is looking more and more like the man who swallowed David Cameron…

 

* See also previous Salford Star article - £4.4million Salford Council Cuts Horror, focussing on cuts to Welfare Rights and Debt Advice - click here

** See related Salford Star articles...

* Salford Council Total Privatisation of Adult Services - click here

* How Salford Council Treats Vulnerable People Fighting Cuts (Noreen's Story) - click here

* Salford Council Cuts Life and Death Services - click here

* Read the full cuts report - click here and then click on item 04

Bernard Brough wrote
at 22:17:53 on 29 June 2014
Mr Goodall, you are certainly correct in one respect, "change needs to come". Not just for Salford's sake, we need a government that cares more about people and less about business. We need to renationalise everything the Tories gave away. Conmen coalition or Tory Lite Labour are all the same, you can't get a rizla paper between them. While the council could do far better with managing the cut let us not forget it is a particularly evil government imposing the cuts from Westminster.
 
Bob Goodall wrote
at 22:34:28 on 27 June 2014
Sir, Ian Stewart and his 13 assistant mayors are not Conservatives. I am not exactly sure what description a true Labour supporter would give them, but conservative, thank God, it is certainly not. It is if this Labour dominated council has become a camp for former shop stewards, deselected MP's, union activists and those who have an unusually high opinion of their own abilities. If Salford council had more Conservative councillors we would not be in this mess. We would also have a stronger opposition to this bunch of underachievers, who simply do not have a clue and treat local elections as a forgone conclusion. To this gang of 52, public service is what they say it is and not what you or I would hope. The only opposition is eight Conservatives tasked with holding this wayward mayor to account. Can you imagine what a 60 Labour council would be like, all towing the Stewart line? Local issues mainly involve listening to residents and then doing what you can. Blaming the 'government' for local inactivity fools no-one. In my short time as a Conservative candidate I managed to get bollards installed on Bolton Rd, a non-functional street light re-cabled and working and a few other matters relating to safe-clean streets. My work will continue as will my campaigning for improvements and higher standards. Can I ask, where were the 3 existing labour councillors when cars were driving along pavements, street lights were unlit and our underpasses were filthy? On the door-step I am told no-one had seen, spoken or could name any Labour councillor. Residents said they only heard from them during elections. Not a resounding vote of confidence and possibly why most of the Labour councillors are elected by a small percentage of the electorate. Change needs to come for Salford's sake.
 
Bernard Brough wrote
at 20:07:54 on 26 June 2014
The title "Assistant Mayor for Adults and Older People's Services" should be changed to Assistant Mayor for Kicking the Shit out of People When They are Down.
 
wrote
at 20:07:32 on 26 June 2014
Well said Mary . What are we paying council tax for ? Just to fund the obscene salaries of these parasites. They sleep soundly enough - on OUR money . No austerity for these bloodsucking leeches.
 
Martin wrote
at 20:07:19 on 26 June 2014
@rebecca, well they will send you one of their fraudulent court summons that they have been issuing for year. The council print and send these out, under the guise that there from Manchester and Salford magistrates court, but until the day before the hearing the court have no record of these summons, they also use a false signature, of a justice clerk. Anyone who gets one of these summons should contact the police. Oh council tax only accounts for 20% of council income.
 
David cameron wrote
at 20:07:02 on 26 June 2014
For once I have to agree with with Ian Stewart, the problem and the answer do's lie with the community, it is up to the community at the next election to get off their arses and to vote Ian Stewart and this labour council out and put the control of this city back in the hands of the salford people
 
mary ferrer wrote
at 06:41:54 on 26 June 2014
I don't know how that man and the rest of his mini mayors sleep at night.What the hell are we paying our Council tax for.the communities have to solve their own issues.So why are we paying him and the rest of his gang of idiots. Maybe if they got some of the outstanding money that is owed to the residents of this city back, some of these vital services would not be having to face major cuts, that could endanger peoples lives.Maybe they should start getting their own house in order, instead of telling the Community to slove their own issues. The only bloody issue I can see is the grabbing usless idiots who are running this city into the ground.Yes cuts have to be made, but Mr mayor start on your own doorstep
 
Mike Concannon wrote
at 15:06:37 on 25 June 2014
Can we not all chip in a few quid, get leaflets printed about this shocking move from Stewart and his cronies and post through every door in Salford, so EVERYBODY knows exactly whats going on? I am willing to go out and help distribute leaflets
 
noreen wrote
at 15:06:33 on 25 June 2014
I have no words at this time I am beside myself that we could have such a disrespectful person for a mayor, this council is a total disgrace to labour what have you all done well I might be just a mum that you took no notice of but this fight is not finished yet and you ian stewart and your assistant mayors may have lined your pockets from your ill gains but as you know things do catch up with you like they say what goes around comes around and my fight will go on till I get my boys rites back for them I find it hard even to speak your name Noreen bailey
 
Mark wrote
at 15:06:04 on 25 June 2014
'what is the point of a Labour council ?' ....what is the point of Salford Council ?
 
Rebecca wrote
at 12:22:27 on 25 June 2014
Disgraceful and unacceptable . The only way to fight these Liebour-filth tory scum swine is to withhold all council tax payments , and starve them of funds . Nothing else will suffice .
 
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