An indication of how far Labour -controlled Wirral Council have fallen from the moral high ground and into the golf bunker is that their Welfare Rights Unit employing 3 people is having to make a business case to ensure its survival. Yes – you read that right – applying a business model to welfare rights . Frank Field must be so proud of his amoral protégés.
“..This Officer Option would involve the Council stopping it’s current ‘Welfare Rights’ service , due to similar services being provided by other organisations such as the Citizens Advice Bureau , which are also funded by the Council.”
Oh how we long for the day when the Wirral Council’s Chief Executive and his Super Duper Directors have to justify their existence and their massive salaries or are they too busy racking up massive bills buying office furniture from Jenkinson’s ?.
How does this Council reconcile the outraged soundbites and screaming headlines about “Tory cuts” whilst they desperately woo private industry and zealously dismantle public services?. Where are we living- Wirral or Tunbridge Wells?.
Let’s look beyond the rhetoric and look at the Council’s actions :-
- Closure of Lyndale School for disabled children
- Threatened closure of Girtrell Court respite service for disabled adults
- Threatened closure of Welfare Rights Unit
- Punitive implementation of the Bedroom Tax and ;
- Hiking up Council Tax contributions for unemployed which were both local decisions
Then compare the above with the following :
- Pay hike for the Chief Executive Eric “Feeble” Robinson
- Appointment of PR kingpin Martin Liptrot (was there a business plan for this grace and favour appointment?)
- Peppercorn rent and refurbishment grants for their friends in the Wirral Chamber of Commerce (aka the Nepotism Depot – we understand that Basnett’s bro’ has joined Basnett’s sis’ as part of the crew.It’s a family affair y’all.)
- Failing to attract investors and pouring money down the Wirral Waters plughole
- Relentless pursuit of establishing a golf resort in Hoylake in the face of increasing local scepticism http://www.hoylakegolfresort.uk/
This private enterprise and personal enrichment taking priority over social justice and the welfare safety net approach is reflected in Eric Feeble’s latest less than riveting ExecView newsletter which plugs the following local press coverage that spin king Liptrot(sky) has managed to secure. We were disappointed to see no mention of any stories from Wirral Leaks – as we know Liptrot is particularly keen to know more about us. Don’t be shy Marty – we’d love to hear from you directly ! :
‘Green Light for Wirral Growth Plan’ Insider Media
‘Plans for Birkenhead Kick Start Economic Regeneration’ Wirral Globe
‘Time To Wake Sleeping Giant’ Echo
‘£250m Plans To Turn Birkenhead Into ‘Major Business Capital’ Radio City
‘Council unveils plans for Downtown Birkenhead investment scheme’ BBC
We can imagine the Council licking their lips at the prospect of getting rid of the Welfare Rights Unit so they can employ Liptrot(sky) full time to spin this BS!.
No wonder the compliant Unison spokesperson Paddy Cleary safely ensconced on the Council payroll saw fit to bite the hand that feeds him recently when he said “You really don’t expect this sort of thing from a Labour Council.”
Oh we do Paddy and might we advise you read the Business Case prepared by the Welfare Rights Unit as the extracts quoted below are very reminiscent of the dodgy rationale for the proposed closure of Girtell Court. No cost benefit analysis ,no coherent financial modelling and no details of exactly how services would be re-provided.
“There are three full time welfare rights advisors who have accumulated a vast range of experience, knowledge and skills in this field though working in the community sector, local authority and Department for Work and Pensions. The annual cost of running this “in house” service is stated to be £108,606 (Summary Business Case). No detail has been given as to how the Welfare Rights Service will be “re-provided”, or how much that service will cost the local authority, although it is acknowledged in the Summary Business Case that residents would have to be directed to agreed alternative providers, and that “this may involve additional costs which would reduce the savings proposed…….
We understand the scale of the financial challenges facing Wirral Council, but we consider that the proposal does not accurately identify actual cost savings; does not acknowledge the direct impact that our service can have on generating council income; and does not address the effect of losing the current service on other departments of the local authority, as well as our external partners……..
We do not have the resources to check all gains, but recorded gains for the period January 2015 to December 2015 were £782,029.99. The great majority of gains relate to awards of benefits that are paid by central government funds. The gains achieved can directly benefit the Local authority in terms of meeting the pledge in the Wirral Plan to reduce family and child poverty.”
But who needs needs reasoned ,cogent arguments to justify the closure of services when the Council abandoned welfare for the fairway a long time ago?.
Seems like we could all be going to hell in a golf cart.