Thursday 15 March 2012

Foodbanks in Hammersmith and Fulham

Last year H&F Conservatives added an extra £1 cut to every £3 the Conservative/Lib Dem government sliced from the Council’s budget. This year a quick flick through the £22.7m removed from the Borough’s finances and the numbers appear to make almost abstract references to the invisible people that lose out.

The Guardian brings them back into sharp focus with this full-colour, 3D description of how some people at the tough end of these harsh ideological cuts and failed economic policies are most affected. It tells us how “by the time most visitors reach the doors of Hammersmith and Fulham Foodbank in London, they have not eaten properly for several days.” And explains that “the hungry who come here must be referred by a recognised public authority – it might be a school that has noticed children are not being fed, a GP who has noticed signs of malnutrition, or a social worker who finds a mental health patient is not eating. The food that is distributed is not state welfare but donated by the public.”

This year’s budget did not propose any policies to help those mentioned in the Guardian article. Take a moment to picture just some of the people at the crunch end of a few of the stealth taxes and cuts in this year's budget - which have been listed below. It’s evident that many of them are the Borough’s children, our elderly neighbours, disabled people, homeless people and many of those people suffering from physical and mental health problems. 
  • 4.9% increased charge to meals on wheels users on top of the £600 per year increase already introduced by H&F Conservatives since 2006
  • £290,000.00 cut to mental heath support services at the Ellerslie Centre – which was signed off while the Council was supposedly consulting on its future
  • £310,000.00 cut by offering less support for people with learning difficulties
  • £94,000.00 cut to the drug intervention programme
  • £1.583m cut to supporting vulnerable people programme
  • £300,000.00 cut to child safeguarding service
  • £175,000.00 cut to the child protection service
The publicised vast waste of money around H&F Council’s current tax and “consultants” scandal makes all this particularly hard to swallow. It doesn’t have to be like this.

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