Category Archives: Local Government

Disabled care home residents are being evicted because charities can’t afford to subsidise them

Money: the cost-of-living crisis means more cash is needed to cover the care of severely disabled people – but councils don’t have enough.

Here’s a little-known consequence of the cost-of-living crisis: disabled people are being evicted from charity-run care homes because local councils are refusing to pay increased costs.

These are people with severe disabilities whose care can cost anything between £85,000 and £150,000 per year.

The charity Leonard Cheshire said it had served 11 eviction notices on contracts with councils that had been under re-negotiation without agreement since February. Two were rescinded after councils agreed to pay uprated fees.

The fee increases reflect the rising costs of wages, energy and food due to the cost-of-living crisis that has been largely caused by the UK’s Conservative government, due to Brexit and energy privatisation that has led to failures to upgrade to cheap, locally-generated energy.

Leonard Cheshire has spent millions of pounds from its own reserves over the last few years, subsidising care services that councils have failed to fund adequately – but now says it can no longer afford to continue doing so.

Mencap has not evicted anybody because it generally doesn’t own the properties they occupy – but is subsidising one in five of the state-funded care packages it provides to 4,000 people – so that’s 800 of them. The cost to the charity is millions of pounds.

Evicted residents are unlikely to become homeless because their council or NHS funder has a duty to provide alternative care.

But the concern is that moving will disrupt the care that people get, and cheaper alternative arrangements will be of poorer quality or based far away from their family support network.

Ironically, the evictions are prompted by concerns that the level of council funding no longer guarantees basic safety and quality standards.

Inevitably, the government has claimed it provides plenty of money to support adult social care services – with the £7.5 billion available over two years constituting the biggest funding increase in UK history.

Conspicuously missing is any comment on whether this is enough money to cover the increased costs of care.

So you may safely conclude that it isn’t.

Source: Disabled care home residents evicted in charity’s dispute with councils | Social care | The Guardian

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Council tax may rise by £2,000 – but how can people pay?

Potential council tax rises could constitute the straw that breaks the camel’s back for UK residents struggling with the cost of living.

Here’s the team on Good Morning Britain, discussing whether people will end up living in prison – rather than their homes – serving sentences for non-payment:

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How badly will you be hit if Tory cuts mean councils cancel services?

Liz Truss: her lunatic economic ideas created an economic black hole. Jeremy Hunt’s attempts to fill it are likely to harm us all – including people who say they can’t be bothered with politics.

This is another story about how politics affects you, even if you don’t want anything to do with it.

Councils in England are warning that the cuts Jeremy Hunt is likely to force on them – in a desperate bid to fill the financial black hole that Liz Truss created with her daft neoliberal trickle-down economic plan – will mean the cancellation of everyday services.

They mean services they provide that help you do the things you need to, every day.

The BBC is reporting that a survey of county councils suggests bus services, home care for the elderly and climate change projects are most likely to face the axe.

Other services under threat are leisure centres and parking.

So you will be faced with the added expense of driving to work – and spending a lot of time in traffic jams because many more vehicles will be on the roads.

If you have elderly relatives who need care, then you’ll be the one providing it. While their pensions and possibly other benefits will help financially, your free time will be wiped out.

And obviously any project that actually helps reduce the threat of climate change is vital for our future existence. Who knows what could be cancelled that may otherwise change the world for the better?

You won’t have anywhere to go to relieve the pressure on you because all the leisure centres will be closed.

And you wouldn’t be able to drive there anyway because so would all the car parks.

All because Liz Truss couldn’t do her sums, because 12 years of Tory rule made the UK vulnerable to energy and food price inflation, and because the Tories had spent all that time cutting council funding to the bone, so there is nothing left to tackle emergencies.

Council funding from central government – which makes up the vast majority of the money councils use – has been halved by the Tories since 2010.

And there are more services facing cuts: road maintenance, home-to-school transport, and opening hours of libraries and recycling centres may all be cut. Charges may be introduced to use public toilets and may be increased in car parks. You may be forced to wait longer for your rubbish and recycling to be collected (which may create a problem with vermin).

Apparently the best idea the Tories have is to raise the cap on council tax increases so local authorities can charge already-impoverished residents even more money for the meagre services they continue to offer.

And the Tory government of Rishi Sunak seems to be in denial. A spokesman has said Westminster gave £3.7 billion to councils last year, to shore up services. But that was before inflation went through the roof. How much was actually needed to maintain them at their proper level?

You won’t hear an answer from Downing Street. The press office there is all about damage control, not factual accuracy.

And when I mention damage control, I mean controlling any damage to the reputation of the Tory government – not controlling damage to the fabric of UK society.

Damaging our society has been Tory policy since before they slithered back into government in 2010.

But we still have people who say they’re not interested in politics and they don’t think politics have anything to do with them.

Someone should create a checklist to demonstrate exactly how badly they already have been affected by this country’s political choices – and how much worse it will be in the future.

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Levelling-up funding is being used to handle the consequences of Brexit – in RICH areas

Brexit isn’t working: That’s what Kent Council has found – but to mitigate the harm, the third-richest council in the UK is trying to steal ‘Levelling-up’ funding from areas of genuine need.

Kent Council has claimed a large amount of money to deal with problems that Brexit has caused its traffic management.

But the money isn’t being requested from a ‘Brexit consequences’ fund.

The application is for ‘Levelling-up’ funds.

Kent Council is the third-richest in the United Kingdom. It shouldn’t be claiming any ‘Levelling-up’ cash.

But it is, because Tories give money to Tories – and never do anything that genuinely helps the deprived.

To see how it works, watch the clip:

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Bristol votes to abolish its elected mayor

Marvin Rees: Bristol’s elected mayor must hand over to a committee system in 2024.

Voters in Bristol have decided to abolish their elected mayor in favour of a committee system in which decisions are made by groups of councillors.

Incumbent Marvin Rees, of the Labour Party, will continue to hold the post until 2024 when he will hand over to the new system.

The BBC is reporting that the always-controversial mayoral system was undermined when Labour lost its majority on the city council, allowing Greens, Conservatives and Liberal Democrats to co-operate to bring about a referendum, and they then campaigned hard to get voters to support their call for change.

That is not This Writer’s understanding of the situation because it suggests that those other parties nudged voters into doing what they wanted.

I’m originally from Bristol, and the impression I’ve had from my contacts there is that residents were unhappy that Mr Rees was making decisions unilaterally, that were often the opposite of what the majority of people wanted.

It was undemocratic.

That’s the drawback – or potential drawback – of having local authorities run by elected mayors.

With that system spreading across the country as a result of Tory government policy, it will be interesting to see how effective Bristol’s return to committee decision-making becomes.

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Terrible night for Tories – but Labour fails to break through in local elections

Boris Johnson is facing disaster after voters turned on his Conservatives in the 2022 local elections.

At the time of writing, the Conservatives have lost more than 120 council seats after an election in which they should have expected to take large numbers of seats from Labour (the reason being that Labour had gained massively the last time these seats were contested in 2018, due to the so-called ‘Corbyn bounce’).

But Labour has failed to make the breakthrough that some party supporters predicted for it in the run-up to the poll; claims that it would gain 800 seats seem certain to be scotched with the party only 35 seats better-off at the time of writing.

Party leader Keir Starmer has been talking up the party’s success in taking the London councils of Westminster, Wandsworth and Barnet from the Conservatives, but elsewhere the party has only retained control of councils with lower majorities as voters turned away from the “tepid Tory” fake alternative.

The strongest gains were made by the Liberal Democrats, with an increase of 58 councillors to 261 at the time of writing – and by the Green Party which has won 39 seats, a gain of 23 in the seats for which results have been declared so far.

The vote share for both Labour and the Conservatives has fallen – by a significant four per cent for the Tories, and by part of one per cent for Labour. The Greens have gained the most – three per cent.

The message so far is that Boris Johnson’s leadership of the Conservatives is in the balance as voters turn away – but Keir Starmer’s Labour has not picked up enough momentum to form a credible alternative.

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Will you really vote for one of the ‘big’ parties in the local elections?

The ballot box: but will you be putting a vote into one of these on Thursday, May 5? Or do you think Boris Johnson and Keir Starmer have so badly harmed the UK’s democracy that it doesn’t matter whether you vote or not?

Unless you’ve been living under a rock (and that’s not beyond reason), you’ll know local elections are taking place across the UK tomorrow (Thursday, May 5).

We’ll be electing councils to run services in England, Wales and Scotland, and the government in Northern Ireland.

But probably more importantly, these elections will be viewed as a test of the mood on national issues like the government’s provocation of Russia over the war in Ukraine, its disastrous mishandling of the Covid-19 crisis and the row over parties held in Downing Street while the rest of us were in lockdown, and particularly the current cost-of-living crisis affecting most of the population (but not the Tories’ extremely rich supporters).

If that makes it seem that the Tories should take a hammering, don’t be so sure!

Many parts of England are Conservative heartlands where people will vote for a monkey if it is dressed in a suit with a blue rosette.

And Labour has not acquitted itself in any way honourably over the two and a half years since the last election, with outrage over Keir Starmer’s blind support of the Conservatives during Covid, and his persecution of left-wing party members under a pretence of attacking anti-Semitism.

This Writer asked commenters on Vox Political‘s Facebook page for their opinions and the responses may be informative:

“No reason to vote either Tory or Labour, under current conditions,” wrote one respondent. “Green or PAL if available or you could vote LibDems if no other possibility but I won’t, if there is no Green or PAL candidate I’ll vote independent.”

Another stated: “I think people are seeing the light more and more now. I believe there can and will be change if enough stand together. We are reaching the point where many folk have nothing left to lose, and that will bring change .”

And yet another stated: “Why pretend there’s any reason to vote Labour! Say it how it is!”

There was a large amount of support for denying votes to Labour: “Go green or independent – or do the Labour thing: ABSTAIN,” said one respondent.

“If they can abstain on important issues then you can abstain on Election Day. I plan to,” added another.

“Independent socialist if any available or green,” stated another.

One point of view may be easily encapsulated in this comment: “I won’t be voting Labour whilst Starmer is leader.”

Another respondent added: “With Starmer in charge [of Labour] it’s effectively a one party state.”

But another insisted, “We can all bang on about what ifs and maybes but there are only two parties to vote for,” meaning the Tories or Labour. But they continued: “You have to question your integrity, honesty and morals when voting if you can honestly say the Tories have done nothing wrong and hide behind the saying Johnson is doing great for Ukraine what is he actually doing for this country?”

There was a discussion of whether votes should be spoiled – as these are included in the counts and people believed a large enough number of spoiled ballot papers may spur electoral watchdogs to consider changing the system.

“My advice and I say this every year: if a party doesn’t represent you then write none of the above on your ballot slip and spoil it,” said one respondent. “If enough people do it then they’d have to take notice. Spoiled votes aren’t just discarded; they’re actually counted.”

“I’m gonna advise my fellow no political home pals to discuss exactly this,” another commenter stated.

Nobody advocated voting Conservative.

And the only support for Labour was on the basis that “tepid Tory” was better than “Fascist Tory”. Nobody believed that a Labour Party under Keir Starmer would provide a genuine alternative that might offer prosperity to more than a small number of extremely rich political donors.

Most support went to independent candidates or members of the new left-wing organisations that are springing up to replace Labour as representatives of the majority of UK citizens who are poor and struggling – or for spoiling ballot papers.

So, what will you do?

Will you take the tired old route of supporting whichever of the Big Two parties you think can remove a candidate you despise, even if you don’t support the policies of either of them? (Personally, I would call that madness.)

Will you try supporting somebody new, despite fears that most people will take the first option and your vote will be wasted?

Will you spoil your ballot paper in protest at the undemocratic farce that Johnson and Starmer have made of the UK’s voting system?

Or will you stay at home and not vote at all? If you do, then you’ll have to take the blame if a disaster happens as a result.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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Starmer ‘rule breach’ looks like Tory mud-slinging ahead of local vote

Keir and the beer: but isn’t the real question what the person who took the image thought they were doing? VoyeurGate, anybody?

Did Keir Starmer have a bottle of beer in a Durham MP’s constituency office last year?

Yes.

Was it against the rules at the time?

Probably not. There isn’t really enough information to be sure.

Skwawkbox has provided a handy list of the rules here – and that site considers Starmer to have broken the rules.

But the BBC takes a more nuanced view.

Labour itself says Starmer was at the office of City of Durham MP Mary Foy for an online event ahead of the Hartlepool by-election – a neighbouring constituency. As pubs were closed, getting take-out food was the logical course of action.

Rules in force at the time said people should work from home if they could. It could be argued that this was an occasion in which working from home was not possible – and there was an exemption for “work purposes”. There were no specific rules for meals at work events or for socialising at them.

Durham police have investigated and said they were satisfied that no rules were broken.

That wasn’t enough for North West Durham Tory MP Richard Holden. He argued that “this location was not the usual workplace” of Sir Keir, and there was “no necessity” for him to attend the event.

Really? If it was billed as an online rally with Keir Starmer and Mary Foy, then it was probably reasonable for him to attend, and if it was organised by Ms Foy’s constituency party, then it was probably reasonable for him to attend it there.

And now there’s a question about Labour Deputy Leader Angela Rayner attending – which, again, is probably neither here nor there, considering the restrictions described above.

So on balance, This Site tends to agree (for possibly the first time!) with Starmer: “We’re a few days away from local elections, and Conservative MPs are trying to throw as much mud as possible.”

There isn’t any correspondence with the so-called Partygate scandal because the Downing Street gatherings were social events. Boris Johnson was fined for attending a party, not a work event.

So this issue is nothing more than a distraction – and a shot in the foot for the Tories.

That’s because, by concentrating on alleged lockdown rule-breaking, the Tories are focusing attention on their own wrongdoing more than anybody else’s. Their prime minister has been caught breaking those rules; Starmer is only accused.

And the simple there are far worse failings in Keir Starmer’s Labour Party that the Tories could be exploiting.

What surprises This Writer is that either party is anywhere at all in the polls. Other political organisations should be walking all over them while they squabble about this.

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Chomsky damns Starmer’s Labour – will you boycott that party on May 5?

Noam Chomsky: the world’s leading left-wing thinker has nothing good to say about Keir Starmer and his Labour Party.

I’m not going to make a fuss because Noam Chomsky called Keir Starmer “Keith”. He knew he was belittling the Labour leader, and rightly so.

But his words about what Starmer has done to the Labour Party are far more damning. In video published by the New Statesman, he said:

“He is returning the Labour Party to a party that is reliably obedient to power; that will be ‘Thatcher-lite’ in the style of Tony Blair.”

The comments of the world’s leading left-wing thinker are important and relevant because they contribute to the demolition of the anti-Semitism smears to which Starmer has wedded himself.

As Skwawkbox states,

The Jewish academic is on record dismissing the Establishment’s antisemitism smears… as a ‘disgraceful game’ and a ‘largely fabricated tale’ created for the sole purpose of destroying Labour as a threat to the Establishment.

There is only one way to show your support for Chomsky’s – correct – analysis of Starmer’s strategy: that is to deprive Labour of your vote in the local elections next month.

If his candidates receive even the slightest amount of support, Starmer will claim a huge victory for his right-wing, Blairite, political trash.

He needs to be told in no uncertain terms that he isn’t wanted – nor are his lies and the hangers-on who mouth them for him.

Will you boycott Labour on May 5?

Source: Video: world’s foremost living left thinker calls Starmer ‘Keith’ – and the rest is damning – SKWAWKBOX

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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Voters in rural areas are deserting Boris Johnson and the Tories. Why would that be?

Tractor factor: more people than farmers live in the countryside – but will they usher in twilight for the Tories?

A survey of voters in rural areas has found that the Tories are about to lose their lead over Labour in the countryside.

This is the reason This Writer is sceptical about Somerton and Frome MP David Warburton’s reasons for saying he has been admitted to a psychiatric hospital with shock due to his suspension from the Tory whip for sexual misconduct and drug abuse.

Whether he meant it to be or not, it looks like he’s trying to get people to look on him (and his currently-former party) kindly.

And it smacks of whataboutery: people in rural areas have perfectly good reasons to shun the Conservatives this year – concerns over planning and the ‘levelling up’ agenda, but it seems they’re being asked to vote Tory anyway, out of sympathy for one who has been accused – whether falsely or not.

I hope the ploy doesn’t work this time (for a change). The figures – from that most accurate of pollsters, Survation – suggest that it may not:

The Survation survey of Cornwall, Cumbria, North Yorkshire, Norfolk and Gwynedd, Wales found that 36% of voters in the countryside now intend to vote Labour at next month’s local elections, two points behind the Tory vote share.

That is a 7.5% swing to Keir Starmer ’s party. At the 2019 General Election 46% backed the Tories and only 29% Labour.

I don’t like Starmer’s Labour – for very good reasons; he’d be a nightmare if he ever got into Downing Street – but anything that makes the Tories think again would be welcome right now.

Source: Boris Johnson losing countryside support as rural voters desert Tories in droves

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