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What other ways could councils cut their costs in the light of less Government funding on the Welfare budget?

February 12th, 2013 Leave a comment Go to comments

I personally feel that the Government are making a big mistake by cutting out so much from the Welfare budget.

Many councils no longer have meals on wheels for elderly groups instead they are left to order from commercial enterprises for a weekly or fortnightly shop to fund ready made meals which just need microwaving. Gone is the repartee that an elderly person would have had with a person on a daily basis.

Also gone in many areas are home helps who used to turn up to help the elderly or the disabled to live a basic existence by cooking a basic meal and making them a cup of tea, cleaning the kitchen or other areas when needed. A service which went from being free to a minimal charge according to income or savings. Greater dependence being levied now on families or relatives to look after their elderly relatives in view of the lack of regional services.

More emphasis and strain upon the NHS who then supply nursing staff to the elderly or the disabled for some needs.

I also feel there are actions the Government could have taken to reduce the effect this will have on lower income groups.

The bedroom tax is going to be a nightmare to collect. As people who are in low income groups or the disabled simply won’t want to pay for it. Indeed some can’t afford to pay it and will have no option but to go into debt to pay for food.

The emergency contingency fund is only available for those in dire circumstances for six months only and then after that tenants irrespective of circumstance will have to fund that spare bedroom.

One way the Government could have dealt with this would be to have levied a charge on properties with multiple occupancies where the number of recipients of benefits or a low income had an increased ability to pay something towards rent and community charge. Ability to pay being the main criteria.
For example an adult of 19, an adult of 22, two parents in their 40’s all living in a 3 bedroomed property but all in reciept of benefits should be liable to paying so much of their council rent or community charge. Afterall the cost of living for a family of 4 does not work out proportionately the same as an individual on their own.

The cost of heating a small 2 bedroomed flat is the same as or more than heating a 3 bedroomed house as suppliers of Gas and Electricity charge a higher rate to smaller properties irrespective of circumstances. Mine costs me £25. to £30 per week in the winter but in the summer is between £15 and £20 per week. The difference is switching off my fire as I economise all year with my water and heating as I can;t have one without the other.

The cost of food also varies for a single person on a budget at between £25 and £30 pounds per week but a family of four could easily live well for between £60 – £80 per week. We know this is true as Supermarkets have been advocating that if you educate your self to healthy eating you could cut your weekly spend to £50 a week per family.

In respect of families in need of social housing but can’t get any. Local authorities are to blame for this in the beginning as instead of investing in building programmes they have funded the privatisation of council departments dealing with repairs, maintenance and rental, There is even a seperate department for housing benefits to rental to community charges. Which means that councils have more staff employed in the offices than they need and more bosses than indians to do the work.

As a social housing tenant if you ever have to book a repair that concerns structure before the work is done 3 or 4 different people might have to examine the area in question before another 1-2 people or more come to do the work. Crazy.

Salaries are the biggest area councils spend money and it is tenants who fund it in some shape or form.

If councils really do want tenants to downsize they should be offering cash incentives to do so. Afterall, moving house is not free, decorating is not free, losing your home of 20 years or maybe its been your home all your life, should have a value on it.

I do think Welfare reform is needed but it also needs to be fair.

I also think the financial industry and banking industry should still be held to account for the problems caused by them from 2008. Instead of constantly punishing those less able to defend themselves.

Simple only allow welfare for a max of a year, like many countries do.

The UK welfare state is bloated.

  1. nlv
    February 12th, 2013 at 14:50 | #1

    Simple only allow welfare for a max of a year, like many countries do.

    The UK welfare state is bloated.
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  2. hoarseman
    February 12th, 2013 at 15:19 | #2

    You probably took the words out of many mouths
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  3. Foxy
    February 12th, 2013 at 15:52 | #3

    The councils should stop new starters joining the final salary pension scheme for starters, and then the final salary pension scheme should be eventually phased out and harmonised in line with private sector employees pension schemes, as 25% of your council tax gets taken out to pay pension liabilities. This would save billions very quickly as ex council people retire and die off, and the pensions liability decreases steadily and gradually over a 20 year period.

    They should get rid of probably 1 in 4 council non-jobbers, that many have company / or council provided cars as part of their jobs packages and laptops and iPads. After computerisation, the private sector found that they could cut many of their staff as computers made many job roles redundant…. but not council staff, as they employed even MORE administrators for some unknown reason!

    We are still getting chauffeur driven officials or sheriffs and Lord Mayors, and ‘deputy Sheriffs and Lord Mayors being driven around in posh cars…. Why the hell is THAT? They should either make the post redundant, OR stop the ‘deputy’ this and that, and make them use their own cars!

    The councils are allowed to keep ‘reserve’ money, and this was proven when the country of Iceland went bust the other year, trapping much of their ‘rainy day’ council money that they were allowed to hide from the general public, yet still increase your council tax year on year or NOT give any reduction the next year after they didn’t spend it. WHY were the councils allowed to build up their own slush or rainy day funds at the expense of the tax payer that never see any reductions on their annual council tax bills?

    There is no need to tax the poor or be mean and nasty to the most needy, or vulnerable, or disabled people in our society. Right wing though I am, personally, cannot see any benefit or point in going back to Dickens’ Victorian Britain, when it’s OBVIOUS that the council’s problem is lack of progress, or blatant underhand accounting or stealing from ALL existing council tax payers.
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  4. matt m-h
    February 12th, 2013 at 16:02 | #4

    I think that the government should just start telling people that they shouldn’t have children unless they are capable of taking care of them on their own, without any help. Then, they should abolish the whole welfare / food stamp / SSI system and legalize abortion. So that way, anybody who gets pregnant at a time in their life when they aren’t financially stable can just have an abortion and move on with their lives.
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  5. Mick W
    February 12th, 2013 at 16:12 | #5

    the welfare budget must be cut to further impoverish the needy in the uk, this way working people on the poverty line, consider themselves better off and accept zero wage rises, as those on benefits are the only yardstick they have, to compare their living standards against, while politicians award themselves massive pay rises to compensate for the recent restrictions/loss of their perks, via the expenses scandal.

    last year within days of announcing cuts of 6 billion of the welfare budget, directed against the disabled, and terminal cases, in conjunction with cuts for those in receipt of state benefits.

    its suddenly announced that eire needs 8 billion pounds because its bankrupt, that 4.2 billion pounds worth of defence aircraft are obsolete, and are being scraped as they come off the assembly line, greece is destitute and needs billions to prevent its bankruptcy, and the meltdown of the euro, then there’s hungray that needs 3 billion to stabilise its economy.

    in 1993 the UK government gave away 1.2 billion pounds to 20 third world countries as financial aid, and a children’s ward at guys hospital in london closed for want of 10 million.

    the government can afford to give billions of pounds to countries that deliberately live beyond their means and cry bankruptcy, knowing that massive handouts from the eec will put fresh money into their economy, to enable them to go round the same cycle again.

    whatever contribution the UK gives, to these professional scroungers, its directly at the expense of the needy in this country, in reality you only contribute to charity a surplus amount from your income after all expenses and living cost have been paid, you do not impoverish your own family, by starvation and sending your children to school in worn out rags to support a squandering scrounger in another part of the world.

    by achieving the payment of council tax to central government, parliament has ensured that monies collected under the guise council tax, cannot be used for good of the community within the area they are collected, this also gives them total control of all councils irrespective of the policies of those elected.

    where public maintenance is sub contracted out by tender the cost to the tax payer is massively increased, as opposed to councils employing their own staff to provide these essential services, such as refuse collections, street lighting etc, and if councils invested their workers pension funds, instead of spending it, there would be no shortfall in this area.

    instead they all copy the move the government made years ago in allowing the disolvement of police pension funds and assets, and enabling chief constables to spend this money on supposedly policing activities,

    it was stated that the pension contributions of serving officers would go directly to paying the pensions of serving officers, and no shortfall would occur as the force was expanding each year, nowadays with cutbacks in the force it has become a joke, and guess who pays for it?

    the same ethos was applied to council pension funds, now one pound in every five collected in council tax, goes to pay retired workers pensions, yet councils throughout the country have millions of pounds of reserve funding in banks.

    councils and governments must be held financially accountable, for not choosing the most cost effective method of administrative duties, and individual members must incur financial penalties, with their assets being stripped of them, for advocating money wasting policies for their own personal ends.

    any country needs to ensure its population has the best possible living standard provided by cost effective measures, before any consideration is given to the financial demise of another country which is outside its control.

    the current legislation relating to council tax is a direct reprisal against the population, for the MP’s expenses scandal and the loss of their perks, this is combined with their need to control and enforce their will on everyone,

    as you can see its clearly a case of do as i say not do as i do, and the more control they have, the more impoverishment they will inflict on those dependant on state benefits, as they cannot object, as they lack financial Independence, or choice.
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    February 12th, 2013 at 16:57 | #6

    One way our council could save money at a stroke is to stop publishing their glossy magazine that they shove through every residents letterbox twice a month,after i kept on asking for the cost of this i was finally told,half a million pounds a year! its just propaganda for the council,there is never any bad news in it,lots of pictures of the mayor smiling with groups of delighted residents for one reason or another,telling us how wonderful it is to live here, all of the information in the magazine is now online,or available elsewhere in the borough,all the libraries have the information,its a complete waste of money,as is every spring when round the corner from me every spring about 8 council workers descend on a little flower bed,half of them work the other half watch as last years plants are torn up and new ones planted,then they leave them for the rest of the year,no weeding or watering is done so that half way through the year you can’t tell plant from weed, and most of the plants are dead,next spring the same thing happens again,this has been going on for years! most local councils run along the lines of complete lunacy,it will never change,our mayor just voted himself and his cronies about a 20% rise in all their allowances,while low paid council workers in his borough will get no rise for the second year running,this of course in reality means that they have had a pay cut! and so the horror goes on.
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