LAs : Financial Meltdown - Nationwide / Support Services CUTS : Council Tax Rises / Arrears

Discuss news stories and political issues that affect carers.
65 posts
One manor down .... another 200 or so on the waiting list ???

In reality , this first started in 2004 ... well documented by yours truly and others on the old PRT forum.

Now , some 15 years later , we are finally seeing some affirmative action.

Trouble is , carers ... like me ... cannot get the lost hours back when daycare centres wer cloded ... nor can our carees
fully recover from the effects of social care being either cutback or ... priced out of reach ... and loss of friends through
those daycare centres.
My husband has been extremely fortunate.
When the LA increased his charges by 11.5 % with no discussion I sent an email to the CC for Adult Social Care. She came out to visit. Following her visit the Senior Assessor came out and did a new assessment. The result is his monthly cost has been quite considerably reduced.
The motto here is 'don't take anything lying down' Age does not effect one's brain as many organisation's appear to think. :o
Interesting , Amble ... far too many accept increases with just an obituary snarl.

On many manors ... Liverpool a classic example featured in an interlocking thread ... one arm of an LA is increasing
charges / cutting back services whereas another arm is struggling to deal with the fallout ... human beings falling through
that mythical safety net !

The classic being pursing many for Council Tax arrears and , at the same time , granting emergency aid to stop them
being evicted !

For more on that ... second only to the FOOD BANK thread in terms of " Absolute disbelief " for many readers : ... 8?start=20

Really puts the growing chasm between carers into prospective ... those affected directly by either thread and ...
those who are not ???
LA pension funds ... on the last figure available ... 35 BILLION IN DEFICIT ... adding to whatever Council Tax rise is sort :


Council staff pensions at risk from Woodford investments.

Three Welsh local authorities have put in up to £10m in sister scheme hit by suspension of flagship fund.

Council workers have been left exposed to the underperformance of Neil Woodford’s stock market-listed fund, with a £10m investment by council pensions schemes at risk from the fund’s declining share price.

Shares in the Woodford Patient Capital Trust Fund have tumbled 25% to 58p since 3 June, when Woodford made the shock decision to suspend his flagship Equity Income Fund, following a surge in redemptions sparked by bad market bets.

While the FTSE 250-listed fund is not directly affected by the suspension, the move at its sister fund caused a sell off in shares and the value of shareholder investments to decline.

At least three local authority pension funds, including Derbyshire, West Yorkshire and Dyfed in Wales, have investments tied up in Woodford’s patient capital fund and risk seeing their investments fall further as the stock price continues to slide. Those pensions investments help fund retirement benefits for members including local government employees, councillors, school teachers, charities and housing association staff.

Concerns over public investments in Woodford’s fund first came into focus when Kent County Council was blocked from pulling £263m from his equity income fund at the end of May. It is believed that the local authority’s request prompted Woodford to suspend the fund.

Joel Benjamin, a member of Research for Action, which investigates public finances, said the episode raised questions over whether councils should be trusted to make large, risky investments.

“Local authorities have a dubious record investing money on our behalf, with £1bn losses in Iceland’s banks in 2008 still fresh in people’s minds,” he said.

The £14.3bn West Yorkshire Pension Fund confirmed it holds a £3.5m stake in the listed vehicle, but stressed its investments are reviewed on a regular basis. It refused to comment further on its patient capital trust holdings and confirmed it never held shares in Woodford’s suspended equity income fund.

Meanwhile, the rapid fall in Woodford’s share price has left Derbyshire’s pension fund £800,000 worse off.

Derbyshire’s pension scheme, which is worth £5bn and has 100,000 members, holds 5m shares in Woodford’s funds as part of its private equity portfolio. That investment is now worth £3m compared with £3.8m at the start of June.

Jason Hollands, a managing director at Tiley Investment Management, said: “The trust is clearly experiencing significant selling pressure, on the back of the reputational hit to the manager, and because it has cross holdings in a number of businesses in common with the suspended fund which the latter needs to sell.”

The last snapshot of the trust’s top 10 holdings included digital lender Atom Bank, a cold fusion nuclear energy firm called Industrial Heath, and artificial intelligence business Benevolent AI.

While Hollands said the council pension fund holdings in Woodford are relatively small given the typical size of local authority retirement schemes, they are at risk of a loss on investment if shares end up being sold before the price recovers.

The Dyfed Pension Fund, which manages the pension benefits for Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion county councils, holds a £2.4m stake in Woodford’s listed fund. It accounts for 0.1% of its total £2.4bn pension scheme.

“We have nothing invested in the Equity Income fund,” a Carmarthenshire spokeswoman said on behalf of the Dyfed Pension Fund. “We cannot comment further on future plans at this time.”

Woodford Patient Capital Trust declined to comment on the pension scheme holdings and share price decline. The trust’s board tried to calm investor nerves last week by saying its operations had not been affected by the equity income fund suspension.

Susan Serle, the trust’s chair, said: “The board is pleased with the operational progress of its portfolio companies, which the board believes continue to have the potential to deliver attractive returns, in line with the long-term mandate of the company.

“The operational performance of these businesses is not impacted by recent events.”
Sure Start numbers plummet as cuts hit children’s services.

Exclusive : study reveals 20% decline in use with biggest fall in England’s poorest areas.

Local authority spending cuts have driven a 20% fall in the number of youngsters using Sure Start children’s centres in just four years, with the most dramatic decline occurring in some of England’s poorest areas, a study has found.

The Action for Children charity estimates that 1.8 million children used Sure Start centres in England in 2017-18 – down from 2.2 million four years earlier – a direct consequence, it says, of a 62% cut in council early years service spending since 2010.

The charity said it was especially concerned that deprived authorities had reported the biggest reductions in use, at a time when rising poverty was likely to have fuelled demand for parent and child support services in those areas.

Numbers of children using Start Start in the 30 most deprived authorities were down by 22%, compared with 12% in the 30 least deprived councils, the study found. Overall, 10 councils reported a decline of more than 50% in children’s centre visits over the four-year period, while a further 47 reported reductions of 20% or more.

Sure Start was a flagship New Labour project designed to boost the educational and life chances of socially and economically disadvantaged children. The centres offer childcare and play sessions, parenting advice and employment coaching. At their peak in 2010, there were 3,600 centres, with a budget of about £1.8bn.

Between 500 and 1,000 Sure Start centres have closed in England since 2010, according to recent research. But “closure” figures can mask the way some councils kept centres open while reducing services. Estimating footfall gave a more nuanced view of the impact of funding cuts, the charity said.

The research findings – coupled with the failure of some councils to collect robust data on Sure Start centre use – raise questions about whether local authorities were meeting their duties to ensure there is adequate children’s centre provision in their area, it added.

Last week, campaigners in Buckinghamshire won permission at the high court to challenge plans by Buckinghamshire county council to close 19 of its 35 centres in September. A judicial review hearing in July will consider whether the council has breached its legal duties to provide sufficient Sure Start coverage.

Imran Hussain, Action for Children’s director of policy, said despite the importance of children’s centres and their popularity among many families, years of cuts had left councils with little choice but to reduce Sure Start budgets and close centres. As a result, many services were harder to access.

“Children’s centres are unable to continue to reach families across communities, leaving many thousands of new parents with nowhere to turn for early help support – a far cry from the idea of easily accessible, one-stop-shops within pram-pushing distance,” he said.

A recent study by the Institute for Fiscal Studies found Sure Start centres in deprived areas that offered high levels of service delivered major health benefits and millions of pounds in NHS savings through reduced hospitalisation.

The child poverty expert Naomi Eisenstadt said it was not surprising the largest reductions in use were in the poorest areas containing the biggest concentrations of disadvantaged children as these areas had experienced disproportionately severe government funding cuts.

She added that the hollowing out of Sure Start in recent years had swept away outreach services designed to encourage the most disadvantaged and “hard to reach” families to come to the centres, and this may also have have impacted on declining take up.

Action for Children, which provides 116 children’s centres in England on behalf of councils, said its figures were underestimates, partly because about 20% of all 152 upper tier authorities that responded to its freedom of information requests said they had not collected data on children’s centre use over the full four-year period.

A Department for Education spokesperson said: “We want every child to have the best start in life, with the opportunities and the stability to fulfil their potential and since 2013, the disadvantage gap for children at age five has narrowed.

“More than 700,000 of the most disadvantaged two-year-olds have benefited from 15 hours’ free childcare since its introduction in 2013, and 600,000 three- and four-year-olds have benefited from a 30-hours place in the first two years.

They added: “We believe it is up to local councils to decide how to organise and commission services in their areas, as they are best-placed to understand local needs.”
65 posts