Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Continuing saga of potential cuts in the voluntary sector in London

Hey, another serious political post. Ye Gods, we might start to get a reputation for being a "serious political blog"! That can't happen....can it? I mean, for Gawd Sake, we could end up on Tory Dale's Hit Parade of Blogs. Or be the 2nd Best Lefty Blog... Ever!

Oh well, (ab)normal disreputable (I mean if CND can then so can we) posts on dildos (tried and tested) and dirty porn mags for women will follow soon.......

Anyway, to the serious stuff. Yes, afraid so. I posted something on cuts to voluntary organisations a couple of weeks ago. Around 10 days ago the ALG Grants Executive Committee met and decided not to "Discuss the specific figure of the proposed cut" and "Focus on achieving agreement as to funding budgets". They are saying there will be cuts but not at the level originally proposed (33%). Organisations like the London Voluntary Service Council are cocker hoop about this as they see it as some kind of success. I hate to spoil their party but the small print states there will be cuts so some organisation who aren't deemed a "priority" will have their funding cut.

Areas which were rejected as a priority was work with children and young people. How they justify this considering the fact that London has the highest in the country of "unaccompanied children" is beyond me. A whole range of children organisations in London will be at risk in losing their funding. But don't despair, Olympics initiatives will get funding. Advocacy around domestic violence (though DV overall was considered a priority) wasn't seen a priority. This means independent advocacy for women and kids affected by DV.

Other areas deemed not a priority included access to and participation in cultural activities for BME communities, disabled people, older people and kids.

Information advice and training services to improve health and safety in the workplace.

Promoting cycling and walking around London.

Health awareness and access to health support for "excluded people".

These are only recommendations and the decisions will be made next month. But it still has to be agreed by 22 of 33 London boroughs. And there are various London boroughs, such as Enfield, Barnet and Ealing who wanna bring down their council taxes to the level of Wandsworth. And for this "vote winner" you need to cut something expendable and to your average right-winger the voluntary sector is.

Oh and even Mayor Livingston doesn't like the sound of these cuts who says, "Any proposed cut in grants would have London-wide implications and are therefore a matter of considerable concern to my office." No shit Ken!

Watch this space if there are any developments.