CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Camden should look to the example of Hammersmith & Fulham rather than enforce the Tories’ cuts

10 May, 2018

• IN my experience as a disabled woman and a Labour Party member, many people wouldn’t vote Labour in the local election because Labour councils like Camden have enforced Tory cuts rather than find ways to side with those they should be protecting.

Last October Camden implemented higher charges for social care, taking from Department for Work and Pensions benefits intended for night care, even when they only provide daytime support.

Charges are deducted at source from severely disabled people’s personal budgets or enforced by threat of bailiffs and court.

It doesn’t have to be this way. As community campaigners we asked councillors to follow the example of Hammersmith & Fulham (H&F) where home care is free.

Camden said they couldn’t afford £3million to do it. Yet they handed £40million to Lendlease – the international property developers challenged over the wholesale sell-off of Haringey council homes, public buildings and land – to rent out the Old Town Hall building.

H&F has taken all children out of homeless bed and breakfast accommodation, frozen council tax, abolished charges on adult social care and bailiffs for council tax debt.

Cllr Max Schmid, H&F cabinet member for finance, said: “…if a bailiff pressures someone into paying their council tax arrears at the expense of their rent, they are more likely to be evicted and end up in temporary accommodation.

“This can have severe emotional costs for the evicted family and huge financial costs for the council and other parts of the public sector…

“It is not the purpose of local authorities to cause its residents this kind of harm. Quite the opposite, indeed.” See: http://www.moneyadvicetrustblog.org/guest-post-from-hamm/.

Not surprisingly in H&F where residents’ welfare is prioritised, the number of Labour councillors has increased by nine, including unseating the Conservative leader.

H&F leader, Cllr Steve Cowan, said: “We want to be judged by our deeds and not our words.” Camden too is being judged by its deeds.

CLAIRE GLASMAN
NW3

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