“Drastic reductions” in the social welfare service across Tower Hamlets are being threatened by the council while some of the organisations will have to close down.
The Mayor Lutfur Rahman and other councillors have suggested reducing the level of annual funding to the borough’s social welfare service providers by 50 to 75 % at a council cabinet meeting on October 3.
Sue Brown, Tower Hamlets Law Centre manager, tweeted that a cut of £ 930,000 in their grant is planed over the next two years.
All the members of Community Advice Network (THCAN), including advice providers, private practice solicitors and community and statutory agencies for social welfare law advice would be affected while some of the organisations may have to close.
Brown said in an open letter to the Mayor and Cabinet that any reductions in funding for advice provision are short-sighted and would lead to long-term and irrevocable issues of extreme poverty, isolation, and disaffection.
“We sincerely hope and trust that this will be taken into consideration during the current review process and, consequently, funding reinstated to the current level.”
According to Brown, the number of Tower Hamlets residents who are able to challenge withdrawal and reduction of benefits, obtain debt relief orders or bankruptcies, and take action to keep their home will be reduced to a minimal level due to reduction of funding.
“As a result residents in the borough will lose significant amounts of income and support with housing and debt problems which will particularly impact the least advantaged residents,” she continues.
An online petition against the funding cut proposal has gathered more than 1,000 signatures.
The council refused to comment on the proposal at this stage.
A final decision will be made in the next cabinet meeting on 7th November at 5:30 pm.
To sign the petition please click here
The council contacted ELL today (Thursday) to say:
“There have been no cuts to the overall budget for mainstream grants.
Nor have there been any decisions taken about the final allocation of grants – this process is currently on-going.”