Council could lose £500k earmarked for disabled residents

Posted on Thursday 18th November 2010 at 8:19 am by SH (Editor)

Government cuts announced last month could mean that a local council is set to lose £500,000 that it had earmarked for spending on equipment for disabled residents, say Labour councillors.

The fine print revealed by Conservative Chancellor George Osborne’s Comprehensive Spending Review of 20th October, shows that councils will no longer receive any money when council house tenants buy their homes – known as Right To Buy (RTB) receipts.

South Gloucestershire Council receives around £500,000 per year from RTB receipts. This money is paid to the Council by Merlin Housing Society who took over the Council’s housing stock in 2007.

The Council’s ruling Conservative Cabinet recently decided to use its RTB receipts to fund a shortfall in its budget that pays for grants to disabled residents who qualify for statutory help. Now, as the government insists that RTB receipts are to be paid to the Exchequer, South Gloucestershire Council will have to find the money from elsewhere because they are legally obliged to provide the grants.

Councillor Andy Perkins (Labour), who Chairs the Council committee which scrutinises the work of the Community Care & Housing department, said;

“Because of an aging population, the Council was already finding it impossible to keep up with the demand for grants. Now, if the government takes back this money, it is very hard to see how the Council will be able to fund these grants without cutting back on other services. This is another very local example of how central government’s cuts are going to affect vulnerable people.”

Related link: Councils face debt struggle at RTB plans frozen (Inside Housing)

Source: Labour Councillors on South Gloucestershire Council

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