This morning charities are complaining about the Conservative government's cuts to their funding. In a blow to "Cameron's" so-called "Big Society" initiative, Citizens Advise Bureaux across England are facing closure as a direct result of the Tories imposing budget cuts. Why are they surprised? They are reacting now when surely they should have seen the writing on the wall and reacted long before now? This was on the cards months ago, yet they were still too busy "fawning" to a government that was smiling in their faces while wielding a huge knife behind their backs. It is not only the CAB, this is affecting charities across the board.
It is as if these charities thought if they were "nice" and smiley and all supportive of this terrible Tory government, they would be spared cuts in funding. The BBC thinks the same which is why we are currently treated to a 24/7 Tory party political election broadcast, they think that if they do this then the Tories will not sell them off to BSkyB and other interested parties (fools - their writing has been on the wall well before the last election).
Charities really should have seen this coming when Oliver Letwin began making statements like this in January 2010:
Before the Tories assumed power Letwin said that "charities should campaign less" and that "some voluntary organisations spend too much of their resources on campaigning and not enough on service provision". and "The burden of reducing the fiscal deficit could not be borne by the voluntary sector. "Voluntary organisations and social enterprises can take a leading role in dealing with the social recession, but the economic recession needs to be tackled by government and opening up the UK for business". (Which of course also included opening up charities to profit driven private sector free market that the Tories so love)
Letwin more or less said that charities should not be expected to shoulder the burden of the cuts, but the very fact that he mentioned it should have sounded alarm bells, it was obvious this was the thinking of the Tory party in opposition and it was obvious something big was in the pipe-line, especially when he made a statement which implied that charities and social enterprises can take leading roles in dealing with the "social recession". Exactly what did Letwin mean by "social recession"? What was he saying that charities and social enterprises should be leading with effects of? Government cuts and the fall out from government cuts on the poorer and those most in need in our society?
Oliver Letwin was indicating he knew at that time that an incoming Tory government was going to hit the poor and the needy the hardest in forms of freezing, withdrawing and axing benefits and that the Tories were going to cut funding to charities and call it the "Big Society". However, if the Tories knew this then it is also reasonable to assume that the Liberal Democrats were also made aware of this when they held their "coalition talks" with the Tories and of course Oliver Letwin was one of those "men in suits" that conducted those talks. So the Liberal democrats were also in this right from the start.
The poor, needy, vulnerable, the disabled, the young and the elderly and especially women and children have all been targeted by this government, at the same time the Tories have cut spending to benefits for example Sure Start centres, Youth projects, free swimming to the young and elderly, forcing parents to pay for children's parks, the axing of the playground refurbishing; the axing of the schools for future building programme; the cutting of the Educational Maintenance Allowance (EMA); the trebling of tuition fees, the capping of housing benefit, the cutting of the benefits to disabled people, forcing disabled people (some terminally ill) off of benefits and into work, the taking away of mobility payments to disabled people who are resident in homes and continually getting residential homes muddled with hospital stays) and the cutting of up to £100 off of pensioners winter fuel payments at a time when gas is going to rise 19%, electricity at least 14% and food and clothing prices are soaring. David Cameron made a promise and a commitment to end fuel poverty by 2016 when he was in opposition, he has now reneged on this promise and quietly dropped it in another policy proposal u-turn.
Above are some of the groups of people that will be affected by government cuts, in fact they are affected by them more than any other group. Charities knew this why did they not use their voices before now?
What Letwin said about "social recession" suggests that he along with Cameron and Osborne knew how they were going to tackle the deficit brought about by the greed of the bankers - clearly by making the poor and vulnerable pay for it, at the same time as reducing or cutting funding altogether to charities.
"Social recession" equals homelessness. As a direct result of the capping of housing benefit many thousands of families will be forced to move house and there is a high probability that they will end up with no new home to move to, which in turn will lead to a massive increase in homelessness and a huge burden being placed on already struggling local authorities to rehouse people with nowhere to live. Some local authorities like Luton for example have already secured thousands of bed and breakfast places in the event of a rush for accommodation when the Tory government's cuts take affect. These people who are having their housing benefit capped are not as cameron as intimated "welfare scroungers" they are not "workshy", they are mainly families living in privately rented accommodation who claim housing benefit because their wages does not cover the cost of their rent, they go to work each and every day to try and support their families, many strive just to get paid the national minimum wage.
The government believes that once landlords are faced with the possibility of not earning rent from their properties landlords will reduce their rent, this is a fools perception from an alarmingly ignorant government. As a direct result of this government's VAT hike, wage freeze and public sector workers redundancies, the rise in utilities, the rise in fuel, the cuts in benefits and the bankers that caused this problem reluctance to lend money, the housing market is all but stymied (especially in the North), very few people are buying properties this is resulting in a clamour for affordable rented accommodation, in essence the landlords do not have to reduce their rents, if they do not rent to those people who have part of their rent paid by housing benefit, then they will rent to others who do not. This is a problem brought about by a government which has the inability to think or see the bigger picture, or understand the knock-effect from the actions they are taking, it is either that or they simply don't care (not too many votes to be lost in this group of people). The Tories must have known about their intentions on placing a housing benefit cap *before* they were elected, yet this did not stop David Cameron toadying up to Big Issue chairman, Nigel Kershaw.
How could Cameron have guest edited the "Big Issue" magazine knowing fully well that he was going to bring in policies in his welfare reform bill that would endanger the homes of hundreds of thousands of people, forcing a great many of them to take up residence in our streets?
Welcome to Tory Britain and the return of "cardboard city". How does Nigel Kershaw now rate the Conservative prime minister? It struck a deeply unpleasant chord with me to see Cameron toadying around the Big Issue and Kershaw, it made me think of that song by Phil Collins "Another day In Paradise" about homeless people in the late 80's under the Tories - shortly before he announced he was supporting the Tory party (for tax reasons). I have never looked at Phil Collins in the same way ever since, I had tickets to one of his concerts, I tore them up, I was so upset and totally disgusted, I felt deeply betrayed by Collins. How could he write songs like that and vote Tory? They are diametrically opposed. I hear he has released a come back album (must be down to his last few million)
She calls out to the man on the street
"Sir, can you help me?
It's cold and I've nowhere to sleep,
Is there somewhere you can tell me?"
He walks on, doesn't look back
He pretends he can't hear her
Starts to whistle as he crosses the street
Seems embarrassed to be there
Really Phil Collins? REALLY? - Hypocrite!
Then Phil Redmond (of all people) being taken in by Tory David Cameron and his "Big society" in Liverpool. I really expected Redmond to be more politically savvy than allow himself to get involved with Cameron in such a way. Just look at some of the comments from Liverpudlians Redmond is receiving here.
I have no idea what Redmond's policy is now and to be honest I don't care to me he is just another rich bloke who got lucky pretended to care and then turned into a Tory mouthpiece when it suited him. (does he even realise how many people feel betrayed and let down by him? Liverpool is a city filled with incredibly proud people (with long memories).
So here we are, we have a self defeating government cutting funding to charities, this is totally baffling because the "third sector" employs a great many people and redundancies are already happening as a direct result of what this government is doing.
Take a look at the False Economy website, who say that more-than-2000-charities-and-community-groups-face-cuts. Their research shows that charities face net funding reductions of at least £110 million this year at least, as the final figure is thought to be higher than this. Their information was gathered under the Freedom of Information requests several months ago.
Some of the charities facing funding cuts are:
- 112 adult care charities
- 142 elderly related charities
- 382 young people related charities
- 151 disabled people related charities
The "Big Society" is just a Big Con
Research for the False Economy website - found it was charities related to children and young people that were most affected, with more than 200 receiving cuts in funding.
Some care services, groups for the disabled and support for the elderly are also affected - for example Age Concern Oldham will see its funding reduced from £212,892 to £31,000, while the Voluntary Action South Leicestershire (VASL) has lost £20,939 state funding for its befriending service, which supports those those who are isolated and lonely.
Birmingham was the council that had made the biggest number of cuts, although it is the largest local authority in the UK.
Charities play a key part in Prime Minister David Cameron's concept of the "big society", which encourages greater personal and family responsibility and community activism.