Our Safeguarding service at Brent Council is one of the hidden gems in our service portfolio. Not quite as obvious as the bin in front of your house or the streetlights on your road, but Safeguarding in Brent is widely respected as one of the best in the country.
Abuse is not just physical, but also emotional and financial. It is everyone’s responsibility to do what they can to stop it.
The number of reported cases of abuse of adults in Brent has risen from 435 in 2011-12 to 664 at the start of 2013, we fear the real figure may be far higher. Even with the increase in reporting of incidents, inevitably, abuse of adults in all categories is still largely unnoticed and under-reported.
That is why we are promoting our Safeguarding service through a Borough-wide poster campaign. You may have seen images like the one below advertised near you.
Our service campaign has also picked up attention nationally and has been covered in the Guardian here – LINK
The bedroom tax, due to be implemented in April, will penalise households in social housing deemed to have more bedrooms than they require. About 670,000 households will face a 14% cut in housing benefit for the first bedroom deemed surplus to requirements and 25% for two or more bedrooms. The government estimates the average household affected will lose £14 a week (Source: Guardian).
The Government seems to say that everything is fine because disabled people will be able to apply for discretionary housing payment from their local council and any shortfalls will be addressed – everything is hunky dory. WRONG!
On Page 68 of the 2012 Autumn Statement, the Government makes a positive move to exempt people in supported accommodation from the bedroom tax but they pay for it using money allocated for Discretionary Housing Payments!
That’s a £15 million reduction in Discretionary Housing Payments up to 2017 and front loaded so that £10 million is taken out in the first two years!!!
However, DHP is a funding pot that people have to apply for every year, it is non-statutory and if it runs out, that is it. Reducing it is concerning and makes the future uncertain for disabled people.
The graph above published in the Guardian shows the change in spending power in pounds per person, compared to the England average. It shows a redistribution in resources from Labour areas to Tory Councils. It is no surprise that Newcastle City Council has called for an independent method of funding allocation to local Councils to end political bias in Council funding from central Government.
The Guardian is reporting that there is a drop of more than 6% in student applications to Universities with less than a month to go before the deadline for 2013 applications – LINK.
The tuition fee rise is a huge issue that is continually raised to me on the doorstep in Dudden Hill. It’s sad that less people are willing to go to University because of the long term life time debt that people will incur.
Data compiled by the Guardian has exposed the Tory Liberal cuts to Councils – LINK
It shows that Brent people have been disproportionately affected by the cuts to local Councils.
New data reveals that Brent’s budget has been cut at £120.21 per resident whereas the national average is £60.90 per person. Extraordinarily, North Dorset, a Tory controlled Local Authority has had its Budget cut by £2.70 per person. This is absolutely outrageous.
Why have Sarah Teather and her pals forced Brent to have to cut more than others? If Brent Tory Liberal Councillors do blame Labour for creating the deficit as they have done at Council meetings and the Coalition Government are holier than thou, are they still defending the level of cuts to Brent compared to others and supporting the damage made to Brent while other Councils are being given much more generous settlements?
Is it right that Brent residents have to pay more for paying back the budget deficit? Did they create the crisis? Was it Gordon Brown who created deficits in nearly every major country in the Western world by building and refurbishing schools and hospitals? or was there a global economic crisis?
Sarah Teather must explain why she chose to cut money away from Brent services more than services in other areas. Why does she feel it is right to make cuts to Brent Council of £120 per person and to North Dorset a measly £2.70 per person.
These are questions that all the Brent Tory Liberals are yet to answer.
Recent projections are showing a worrying picture for local government in the future. Let me introduce you to the Barnet ‘Graph of Doom’.
It is projected that if cuts continue the way that they are going at the moment and factoring in the demographic changes with people living longer, all that Councils will be doing in the future is looking after the most vulnerable in society.
Without fundamental reform, Brent and other Councils will simply have to totally stop providing some services full stop. We will no longer be able to provide all our statutory obligations. Without fundamental reform in funding formulas, Councils will at some stage in the future be writing to Central Government, requesting to remove some statutory obligations.
The Guardian writes that in relation to Barnet (but this does apply to Councils like Brent too) that they “will be unable to provide any services except adult social care and children’s services. No libraries, no parks, no leisure centres – not even bin collections.”
The hashtag #TheGoveBoat is trending on Twitter as Secretary of State for Education Rt Hon Michael Gove MP has written a plea to his fellow Tory Liberal Government Ministers to be prepared to use taxpayer’s money to pay for a new yacht for the Queen.
The Guardian mentions that “Various efforts have been made to propose a new royal yacht, but have been rejected on the grounds of cost, estimated in 1997 at £60m.” (LINK TO GUARDIAN ARTICLE)
It is totally unacceptable to be spending £60m on a royal yacht while at the same time cutting Brent’s budget by £104 million and making unprecedented cuts to Brent NHS and Brent’s Police.
The BBC has revealed that three government departments have opposed a policy for curbing greenhouse gas emissions (LINK). The three Departments are Transport, the Treasury and Business, Innovation and Skills. The Guardian has also revealed that Lib Dem Business Secretary Vince Cable has ‘refused to support new carbon reduction targets recommended by the Committee on Climate Change’ (LINK) cashing with the Lib Dem Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Chris Huhne.
Meanwhile the Government has imposed the Carbon Tax to local council’s shedding their responsibility for dealing with pollution to local authorities, when climate change is clearly a problem that needs tackling on a national and international scale also.
As a result, Brent Council has had to pay nearly half a million pounds towards the Carbon Tax at the same time as having our budget reduced by £105 million. The Carbon Tax was highlighted as a service area cost pressure in Brent’s budget (LINK), largely because it was an unexpected cost that was bunged on to Councils.
The Guardian has published results in detail for the Alternative Vote referendum held on Thursday 5th May 2011. The No vote won with 30,941 (54.77%) in Brent rejecting the AV system to elect our MPs and 25,551 (45.23%) voting Yes. Turnout in the London Borough of Brent was 30.78%.