Monday, February 21, 2011

"Unison publishes list of 62 councils ‘robbed’ by Housing Minister"

SHAPPS MUST KEEP PROMISE ON FUNDS FOR HOMELESS, ELDERLY AND VICTIMS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

- Unison publishes list of 62 councils ‘robbed’ by Housing Minister
 
UNISON, the UK’s largest union, today challenged Housing and Local Government Minister Grant Shapps (pictured left), to honour his pledge made in the House of Commons, not to cut the Supporting People grant by more than 1%. The grant helps support more than 1 million people, funding women’s refuges that provide a haven for victims of domestic abuse, helping rough sleepers, and people with mental health problems. It also funds sheltered wardens and community alarms.

Last week in the House of Commons, Liverpool (Walton) MP Steve Rotheram, asked “If I can prove that it (the cut to the Liverpool Supporting People grant) is 30%, will the Minister give us back the other 29% so that we only suffer a 1% cut?” Grant Shapps replied “I take him up on his challenge.”

The union is today publishing evidence that Liverpool’s Supporting People grant has been cut by 30%, together with a list of more than 60 other councils also facing cuts of more than 1%. Camden council has lost more than 60%. The union is challenging Grant Shapps to give all these councils back the difference so they can keep these services to vulnerable people running.  

Dave Prentis, UNISON General Secretary, said:

“All over the country, Supporting People grants fund women’s refuges; providing a haven for victims of domestic abuse.  They help keep people who have fallen on hard times from sleeping rough, and give people with mental health problems a roof over their heads. More than 800,000 elderly people rely on services funded through Supporting People. Drastic cuts will mean shelters shut, and beds lost, pushing vulnerable people onto the streets or leaving them without the help they need.

“In the House of Commons, Grant Shapps said that this grant had been protected, so the average cut was just 1%. But our evidence taken from his own Department’s website, proves many councils have been hit much harder. Grant Shapps promised to give Liverpool back the difference if he saw evidence that it’s grant had been cut by more than 1%. Here is that proof in black and white.

“We challenge Grant Shapps to stand by his word, to give Liverpool back the money that has been taken from them, and to do the same for the 61 other councils hit hard. Either Grant Shapps didn’t know what was going on in his department, or he didn’t care about some of the most needy and vulnerable people in our society. This is his opportunity to put things right.”

UNISON evidence shows that:
One council (Camden) faces a cut of more than 60%
Seven councils (West Berkshire, York, Rochdale, Nottingham, Bournemouth, Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire face cuts of between 40% and 50%,
Eight councils (Newcastle upon Tyne, St Helens, Isle of Wight, Bristol, Manchester, Halton, Leeds and Liverpool) face a cut of between 30% and 40%,
Seven councils face a cut of between 20% and 30%
Twenty Two councils face a cut of between 10% and 20%
10 councils face cuts of more than £5m (Camden £18.470m; Manchester £12.613m; Liverpool £11.167m; Leeds £10.614m; Nottingham £9.942m; Bristol £9.275m; Gloucestershire £8.601m; Oxfordshire £6.627m; Rochdale £6.587m; Newcastle upon Tyne £6.527m)

Check out Unison press release.
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