Theresa May, Equalities Minister?

I wrote about cuts to domestic violence services a while ago, before anything was set in stone, before councils had set their budgets, before Ken Clarke had announced his court cuts, before I really knew who Theresa May was. It’s time  to write again, such is my anger and rage at the hypocrisy of this government and it’s ministers. They claim their ‘deficit reduction’ plans do not disproportionately affect women. Really? How does the Minister for Women and Equalities explain what I will outline below?

In August 2011 Ms May decided to scrap a scheme that prevented perpetrators of domestic violence from entering the family home (‘go orders’), due to departmental cuts. This undoubtedly put many victims lives at risk.

Womens Aid, this year, voiced their concerns over budget cuts to domestic violence refuge and outreach services across England and Wales. They said that more than half of these services could face closure as a result of this governments ‘devastating’ cuts. 60% of refuge services and 72% of outreach services would have no funding from April 1st, putting 70,000 women and their children at risk, with no access to vital, life saving services.

It’s worth remembering that 2 women every week are killed by a current or former partner in England and Wales. It has taken decades to build the network of services across the country. This government is taking just months to destroy them.

Devon County Council have cut funding.

Bradford, Burnley, Essex and Newcastle council all put their domestic violence services under review to renegotiate contracts as a result of reduced council budgets.

The Supporting People project is a key funding pot for these services. It has an annual budget of £1.6B, but it’s not ring fenced and cash strapped councils are using the money for other services. Larger councils that have faced much higher cuts are also using this money elsewhere.

The list of cuts to Supporting People is as follows (information from Inside Housing website)

Local Authority Funding in 2010/2011 Funding in 2011/2012 Percentage Change
Camden London Council 30,628,235 £12,158,688 -60.3%
West Berkshire District Council 4,637,346 £2,401,696 -48.2%
City of York Council 7,088,981 £3,682,147 -48.1%
Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council 14,796,902 £8,209,722 -44.5%
Nottingham City Council 22,336,874 £12,395,337 -44.5%
Bournemouth Borough Council 9,561,782 £5,354,758 -44.0%
Oxfordshire County Council 16,167,490 £9,540,850 -41.0%
Gloucestershire County Council 21,119,896 £12,518,654 -40.07%
Newcastle Upon Tyne Metropolitan District Council 16,354,690 £9,827,593 -39.9%
St Helens Metropolitan Borough Council 9,447,150 £5,878,021 -37.8%
Isle of Wight Council 5,543,843 £3,469,933 -37.4%
Bristol Council 25,831,534 £16,556,869 -35.9%
Manchester City Council 35,756,397 £23,143,488 -35.3%
Halton Borough Council 6,861,315 £4,483,519 -34.7%
Leeds City Council 31,981,161 £21,366,945 -33.2%
Liverpool City Council 37,115,198 £25,948,252 -30.1%
Suffolk County Council 16,646,473 £11,815,612 -29.0%
Leicester City Council 14,049,538 £10,026,197 -28.6%
Brighton and Hove Council 11,249,207 £8,756,899 -22.2%
Nottinghamshire County Council 22,534,992 £17,600,827 -21.9%
Warrington Borough Council 6,654,511 £5,265,724 -20.9%
Cheshire East UA 9,214,518 £7,303,696 -20.7%
Lincolnshire County Council 18,770,809 £15,101,317 -19.5%
Darlington Borough Council 3,573,448 £2,896,405 -18.9%
Worcestershire County Council 14,653,173 £11,962,226 -18.4%
Hammersmith and Fulham London Borough 11,465,155 £9,371,010 -18.3%
Haringey London Borough 18,665,770 £15,528,094 -16.8%
Southwark London Borough 18,765,619 £15,695,098 -16.4%
Cheshire West and Chester UA 8,853,164 £7,417,996 -16.2%
Borough of Poole 4,238,929 £3,559,380 -16.0%
Salford Metropolitan District Council 13,191,145 £11,108,190 -15.8%
County of Herefordshire District Council 5,592,972 £4,728,883 -15.4%
Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council 5,367,085 £4,546,888 -15.3%
Derby City Council 10,556,336 £8,985,839 -14.9%
Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council 11,064,106 £9,424,140 -14.8%
City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council 19,219,872 £16,579,952 -13.7%
Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council 7,381,274 £6,379,399 -13.6%
North Tyneside Metropolitan Borough Council 8,623,570 £7,547,524 -12.5%
Hampshire County Council 30,115,605 £26,412,153 -12.3%
Sunderland City Council 11,263,297 £9,934,103 -11.8%
Cambridgeshire County Council 10,799,065 £9,586,731 -11.2%
Milton Keynes Council 5,194,785 £4,616,688 -11.1%
Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council 8,022,591 £7,165,606 -10.7%
Bury Metropolitan Borough Council 6,080,555 £5,456,605 -10.3%
Northamptonshire County Council 14,256,621 £12,840,109 -9.9%
Surrey County Council 17,900,356 £16,225,893 -9.4%
Southampton City Council 9,156,070 £8,350,868 -8.8%
Calderdale Metropolitan Borough Council 5,674,656 £5,221,274 -8.0%
Hertfordshire County Council 21,000,881 £19,330,994 -8.0%
Coventry City Council 13,438,581 £12,467,076 -7.2%
North East Lincolnshire Council 6,068,174 £5,652,656 -6.8%
Islington London Borough 15,934,504 £14,864,521 -6.7%
Dorset County Council 9,302,694 £8,703,297 -6.4%
North Yorkshire County Council 14,076,822 £13,210,413 -6.2%
Bedford UA 4,235,591 £4,049,319 -4.4%
Hackney London Borough 21,434,667 £20,559,353 -4.1%
Swindon Borough Council 5,060,422 £4,858,997 -4.0%
Sheffield City Council 25,227,224 £24,242,714 -3.9%
South Gloucestershire Council 4,503,453 £4,387,548 -2.6%
Reading Borough Council 4,383,008 £4,277,160 -2.4%
Devon County Council 19,158,803 £18,754,124 -2.1%
Bath and North East Somerset Council 3,797,778 £3,734,048 -1.7%
Lewisham London Borough 17,219,829 £17,093,219 -0.7%
Rutland County Council District Council 688,452 £683,820 -0.7%
Isles of Scilly Council 1,739 £1,727 -0.7%
Kent County Council 32,024,915 £31,909,747 -0.4%
Wandsworth London Borough 11,177,258 £11,144,240 -0.3%
Lancashire County Council 29,052,873 £29,276,150 0.8%
Kingston upon Thames Royal Borough 4,405,694 £4,473,696 1.5%
Derbyshire County Council 17,260,646 £17,629,708 2.1%
Wiltshire County UA 8,174,934 £8,418,786 3.0%
Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council 7,567,131 £7,841,528 3.6%
Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council 10,341,400 £10,743,552 3.9%
Portsmouth City Council 7,669,316 £7,979,652 4.0%
Trafford Metropolitan Borough Council 5,431,885 £5,651,989 4.1%
North Lincolnshire Council 3,868,464 £4,045,712 4.6%
Wokingham District Council 1,572,523 £1,689,369 7.4%
Westminster City Council 17,051,638 £18,481,934 8.4%
West Sussex County Council 14,618,417 £15,956,125 9.2%
Birmingham City Council 51,912,681 £57,004,525 9.8%
Medway Borough Council 5,840,889 £6,427,584 10.0%
East Sussex County Council 11,561,210 £12,726,423 10.1%
Warwickshire County Council 10,146,789 £11,274,107 11.1%
Lambeth London Borough 20,792,197 £23,282,754 12.0%
Torbay Borough Council 5,054,221 £5,668,521 12.2%
Bolton Metropolitan Borough Council 9,101,572 £10,282,210 13.0%
Hartlepool Council 3,984,694 £4,510,000 13.2%
Cornwall County UA 14,204,036 £16,116,329 13.5%
Kingston Upon Hull City Council 11,059,567 £12,693,363 14.8%
Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council 10,580,319 £12,270,885 16.0%
South Tyneside Metropolitan Borough Council 4,947,095 £5,741,358 16.1%
Essex County Council 28,550,109 £33,661,407 17.9%
Durham County UA 14,588,081 £17,298,882 18.6%
Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council 8,227,686 £9,768,145 18.7%
Sefton Metropolitan Borough Council 6,746,556 £8,059,977 19.5%
Shropshire County UA 6,345,391 £7,630,192 20.2%
Slough Borough Council 3,804,344 £4,626,836 21.6%
Brent London Borough 12,806,959 £15,688,965 22.5%
Southend-on-Sea Borough Council 4,908,331 £6,014,307 22.5%
Telford and Wrekin Council 3,917,442 £4,817,797 23.0%
Staffordshire County Council 13,601,026 £16,737,680 23.1%
Somerset County Council 16,477,891 £20,340,526 23.4%
Central Bedfordshire UA 2,882,625 £3,572,547 23.9%
Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council 5,673,232 £7,040,261 24.1%
Norfolk County Council 16,336,572 £20,305,226 24.3%
Kirklees Metropolitan Borough Council 10,593,700 £13,209,438 24.7%
Wakefield Metropolitan District Council 7,007,331 £8,778,529 25.3%
Barnet London Borough 7,803,452 £9,777,709 25.3%
Kensington and Chelsea Royal Borough 9,629,332 £12,085,936 25.5%
Gateshead Metropolitan Borough Council 6,665,894 £8,431,243 26.5%
Greenwich London Borough 9,953,928 £12,617,168 26.8%
Newham London Borough 12,533,501 £15,954,105 27.3%
Leicestershire County Council 7,126,208 £9,092,373 27.6%
Enfield London Borough 11,055,312 £14,151,875 28.0%
Bracknell Forest Borough Council 1,772,926 £2,281,938 28.7%
Plymouth City Council 8,213,292 £10,640,393 29.6%
Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council 7,067,337 £9,227,282 30.6%
Windsor and Maidenhead Royal Borough Council 1,723,056 £2,257,420 31.0%
Thurrock Council 2,604,713 £3,421,619 31.4%
Middlesbrough Borough 5,982,841 £7,861,445 31.4%
London Borough of Richmond upon Thames 2,847,584 £3,754,892 31.9%
Buckinghamshire County Council 5,587,753 £7,513,597 34.5%
Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council 7,217,707 £9,717,280 34.6%
Luton Borough Council 4,520,292 £6,087,868 34.7%
Wolverhampton Metropolitan Borough Council 7,997,826 £10,853,395 35.7%
Sutton London Borough 3,667,041 £4,995,838 36.2%
Wigan Metropolitan Borough Council 9,342,340 £12,780,745 36.8%
Tower Hamlets London Borough 15,384,899 £21,168,650 37.6%
Hillingdon London Borough 5,954,047 £8,208,324 37.9%
Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council 3,403,756 £4,755,554 39.7%
Hounslow London Borough 6,060,344 £8,497,244 40.2%
Waltham Forest London Borough 8,888,332 £12,593,844 41.7%
Northumberland County UA 7,054,329 £10,044,954 42.4%
Redbridge London Borough 5,473,324 £8,077,430 47.6%
Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council 6,484,018 £9,591,181 47.9%
Cumbria County Council 10,104,185 £14,982,324 48.3%
Merton London Borough 3,385,278 £5,135,900 51.7%
Barking and Dagenham London Borough 5,650,993 £8,781,735 55.4%
Peterborough City Council 5,020,820 £7,814,065 55.6%
Ealing London Borough 11,125,397 £17,388,353 56.3%
Harrow London Borough 3,833,438 £6,090,155 58.9%
Bromley London Borough 5,428,129 £8,857,557 63.2%
Croydon London Borough 8,951,651 £14,690,063 64.1%
East Riding of Yorkshire Council 5,693,378 £9,563,963 68.0%
Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council 3,614,885 £6,093,822 68.6%
Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council 2,952,917 £5,100,213 72.7%
Havering London Borough 3,158,817 £5,580,636 76.7%
Blackpool Borough Council 6,821,148 £12,127,127 77.8%
Stoke-on-Trent City Council 6,712,841 £12,064,394 79.7%
Bexley London Borough 3,656,371 £7,040,623 92.6%

The biggest ‘loser’ is Camden council in North London, with a 60% cut in funding. The biggest ‘winner’ is Tory run Bexley council which will see its funding increase from £3.7m to £7m. How is that justified?

To add insult to injury the Minster for Justice, Ken Clarke plans to close 23 specialist domestic violence courtsas part of his departments budget cuts. These specialist courts provide victims with much needed support and staff are trained to deal with domestic violence issues. Shutting any of these down is another blow to victims and their children.

Then there are the cuts to legal aid which will render so many vulnerable people powerless to gain access to justice. How can this be called equal or fair?

Theresa May, you are paid to stand up for equality, to speak out against injustices against women. How can you sleep at night knowing about these cuts and the affect they are already having on some of the most vulnerable people in this nation? How can you stand in the house of commons and tell everyone that there’s nothing wrong with cutting back the funding for services that save peoples lives every single day, services that helped me rebuild my life after years of abuse at the hands of my ex husband. They also saved my daughters life and gave me the tools to help her rebuild her life. She is now a wonderful 12 year old, who oozes confidence and charisma. That would never have happened without people like Womens Aid and Warwickshire Domestic Violence Support Services.

I would also like to add that Tax Credits enabled me to go back to work when my daughter was 6 years old. Without them I would not have been able to feed us both, pay my rent and be any better off than I was under the old Income Support system, that was immediately cut off as soon as you worked 16 hours or more. With Tax Credits it was actually better for me to work than claim Income Support. When you scrap tax credits I will be no better off whether I work or if I claim. I will then be claiming JSA because your government think single parents should work a full time job as soon as their children start school. Without any financial  help with childcare my oldest daughter will be giving up her own childhood to be a substitute mother to her much younger brother and sister while I’m working. Is that fair? Is that your idea of equality? Where I come from it’s called bullying, unfair and downright nasty. Instead of banging on about the last government, that weird idea you Tories have about ‘benefit dependency’ and trying to score points, why don’t you start defending the people who pay your wages? Women all across the country who have had their chances of success chopped in half. Why don’t you stop banging on about ‘social mobility’ and start asking real people who have to survive on the pittance of benefits what they need to climb out of poverty. Untill you do that you will continue to live in your cloud cuckoo land, imagining that we could all live like you do, if only we’d stop thinking about money so much. Newsflash! I’d rather have enough money to feed my children that some silly ‘social mobility’ speech from another Tory puppet.

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Posted on June 10, 2011, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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