Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Northumberland Labour Group Concerned for our Elderly

Northumberland Labour Group Concerned for our Elderly

During cold snaps like these our elderly population suffer more isolation than normal and that is worrying members of Northumberland Labour Group.

In a County as large as Northumberland Social Inclusion by members of our communities is a must for older people, the disabled, single mums and those living alone in society so Labour Group is urging people to think of thier neighbours and relatives whilst were stuck in the icy grip of winter.

Northumberland Labour Group Leader said: "please remember to phone your friends relatives and neighbours and if your taking a trip to the supermarket or village shop, contact the vulnerable and ask if they need anything. The collection of everyday goods such as milk and bread and the short chat when you drop them off is all some people need to help them feel part of their community whilst the weather is bad."

Leader of Northumberland Labour Group Grant Davey said, "This is one of the most heartless attacks on working families the Coalition have designed to date, people who have lived in their homes for many years may find themselves forced out economically" "No one I have met wishes to live their life on benefits but with 10 people chasing every vacancy in the County some have to, but we should support those in need and not kick them when they are down."

Bedroom Tax and Northumbrians at Risk
Following Lord Freud's attack on working families on Radio 5 Live stating people did not deserve a spare bedroom to put up family in times of need or for children to stay with their estranged parent, we have today Northumberland's social housing figures and affected numbers of people.
The Welfare Reform Act 2012 which is the prime piece of legislation behind the 'Bedroom Tax' originally intended that from April 2013 housing benefit for working age social rented sector claimants will be restricted for those who are occupying a larger property than their household size and make up would allow.
One bedroom is allowed in the assessment for each person or couple living as part of the household, with the following exceptions:
Child aged 15 or under would be expected to share with one other child of the same gender; and Child age 9 or under would be expected to share with one other child aged 9 or under, regardless of gender.
Reduction in Benefit
It is not the % of housing benefit that is cut it is the % of weekly rent used in the housing benefit calculation. The cut reduces the eligible rent by a percentage rather than reduce it down to a fixed level.
The use of a percentage takes account of different rent levels in different parts of the country, and helps to reflect the additional rent associated with additional numbers of bedrooms.
Percentage reductions are 14% of eligible rent is lost for one spare bedroom and 25% of eligible rent is lost for two or more spare bedrooms.
7818 people of working age living in social housing in Northumberland claim housing benefit
Numbers of claimants with no change to their eligible rent entitlement = 4,338
Numbers of claimants whose eligible rent will be reduced by 14% (they are deemed to have one additional bedroom) = 2,666
Numbers of claimants whose eligible rent will be reduced by 25% (they are deemed to have two or more additional bedrooms) = 814
This restriction applies to social sector claimants which includes Homes for Northumberland tenants and is exacerbated by a low availability of one bedroom properties in social rented sector in Northumberland.
Leader of Northumberland Labour Group Grant Davey said, "This is one of the most heartless attacks on working families the Coalition have designed to date, people who have lived in their homes for many years may find themselves forced out economically" "No one I have met wishes to live their life on benefits but with 10 people chasing every vacancy in the County some have to, but we should support those in need and not kick them when they are down."
 
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Sunday, 13 January 2013

Forms are available to sign in Boots, Harrison newsagents, Castlegate, the Ace Convenience Store on Bridge Street and the front office of ‘The Advertiser’.

Berwick Advertiser
Parking petition receives the backing of Chamber of Trade
Published on Saturday 12 January 2013 13:55
BERWICK’S Chamber of Trade has become the first major Chamber of Trade in the county to back a petition for fair parking charges.
The petition which closes on February 26 is meant to further the debate on car parking charges across Northumberland.After the petition closes, a public meeting of the Northumberland County Council’s Petitions Committee will be held to discuss the findings.
Berwick Chamber of Trade chair John Haswell said: “After printing out the petition form today, I have personally collected just over 280 names and signatures in one afternoon. It didn’t take long and it wasn’t hard to do. Berwick’s residents are more than ready to put their name to this petition as they feel this town has been milked to the hilt and it’s about time it stopped.
“We have made the petition available through the local traders and shops of the town so don’t hold back, get in and sign it.”

Forms are available to sign in Boots, Harrison newsagents, Castlegate, the Ace Convenience Store on Bridge Street and the front office of ‘The Advertiser’.
Labour councillors hope the public campaign and renewed discussion of what they call “a parking stealth tax” will send a strong message to the Liberal Democrat administration as it fine tunes this year’s budget.

Currently, visitors to Morpeth, Berwick, Alnwick and Hexham have to pay parking charges, while areas like Blyth, Cramlington and Ashington pay nothing.
This raises nearly £5m per year in income from charges and fines, according to Lib Dem Coun Andrew Tebbutt, executive member for corporate resources. However, Labour dispute this figure, putting the income generated at nearer to £1.95m.

Labour also dispute Coun Tebbutt’s claim that “charges are needed to deal with congestion”.
Reacting to the petition, Coun Tebbutt said: “Both Labour and Tory promises to deliver ‘free parking’ throughout Northumberland are basically a con trick. Firstly it is not free: Council Tax payers, including non-car users, will subsidise car parking to around £4.5m. To find that money they will have to cut funds from other services. Claims that it can be saved by cutting ‘back office’ costs are a fallacy – there is no ‘fat’ left in Northumberland County Council, so it will come from front line services.

“Car park charges are primarily about traffic management and easing congestion. Charges or no charges, car parking limits, on and off street, will have to be enforced, which needs staff.
“The Council has already had to save £117m since April 2009; it will have to save up to £24m in 2013/14 and latest Government predictions suggest 2014/15 and beyond will be even tougher.” He defended the administration’s changes to parking: “We reduced charges in Berwick, introducing the Shoppers Permit (£15.00 for two years) and the Annual Permit. Even with the recent increase in cost, at £130 per annum, that represents just £2.50 a week.”