Nov 122017
 

THE PUBLICLY-FUNDED THIRD SECTOR

HOUSING ASSOCIATIONS

In my previous post, Anti-Welsh Housing Associations, I told you about Wales & West Housing’s irresponsible behaviour in Lampeter, part of a more widespread problem of housing associations chasing the money by housing criminals, which is much more lucrative than putting roofs over the heads of locals.

Of course they argue that there’s a dreadful shortage of accommodation for ‘vulnerable’ people, and of course they’re right – England doesn’t have enough accommodation. Which is why Wales, through its housing associations and other third sector bodies, is currently taking in so many problems.

And yet, while housing associations and others receive premium payments from whoever supplied their new tenants, plus housing benefit and other goodies, there is an obvious downside.

I’m referring to the effect on formerly peaceful communities caused by the arrival of undesirables. But there’s also the extra work for the police and associated agencies. Though perhaps the biggest burden falls on the NHS and associated services, for most of those being moved to Wales by the route described will have ‘issues’ needing expensive treatment.

So while taking on these problems is good business for housing associations and others, the wider implications, and costs, for the country as a whole, more than outweigh the financial benefits accruing to the landlords. Which makes this behaviour selfish, short-sighted and socially irresponsible.

It can fairly be described as anti-social housing.

And of course it raises the question of why the ‘Welsh’ Government allows these bodies, all of which are in receipt of public funding, to behave in this manner.

But the problem isn’t confined to housing associations.

HOMELESSNESS

I have written many times about the overlapping, interweaving and competing homelessness organisations. I thought I knew most of them but someone just brought a new one to my attention. It’s called Emmaus UK and the business model centres on charity shops and workshops for the homeless.

Which means that the Emmaus model should be self-financing. Which is what Emmaus claims.

Its Welsh presence – at the moment, anyway – seems limited to Bridgend, where it appears to have started in 2011. The screen capture below is taken from the Charity Commission website, and it tells us that in 5 years the income has rocketed from £53,728 to £1,570,327. (Private companies would love to see growth like that!)

click to enlarge

When we look more closely at the accounts for the year ended 30 June 2016 we see that the biggest source of income is the ‘Welsh’ Government with a gift of £300,000, up from £200,000 the year before.

But why does a “self-supporting” organisation require any public funding? Especially as we can see it’s not needed, for despite having an income of £1,570,237 it only spent £886,832, which leaves a profit balance of £683,405.

Does Wales have no better use for that £500,000?

Apart from the Emmaus presence in Bridgend the Charity Commission website offers dozens of options for Emmaus operations in every corner of England. Curious to see how much funding these English operations get I checked out a few.

I looked at Leeds, Sheffield, Bristol and Tyneside, four major English cities/conurbations, where the problems of homelessness must be far greater than in Bridgend and Porthcawl. What I found surprised me. Emmaus in these areas operates with a third or less of the annual income of Emmaus in Bridgend – and there’s no public funding at all!

Moving north of the border, the income for Emmaus in Glasgow, where the charity has two shops, a workshop and a warehouse, was only £572,264 in 2016. So why does the Bridgend operation get so much money?

Another telling fact is that Emmaus spends twice as much per ‘companion’ in Bridgend as it does in England. Is Emmaus in Bridgend providing luxury accommodation? Or paying £25 an hour? Is the Welsh operation just inefficient? Or is public money so easy to come by in Wales that it’s being squandered?

Finally, the Emmaus UK housing unit in Bridgend was built on land provided by Valleys to Coast Housing Association. So not only is Emmaus UK receiving Welsh public funding, it also looks as if it was gifted publicly-owned land.

I began this section by saying that Emmaus was new to me, despite being familiar with many organisations claiming to be helping the homeless in Wales. As I don’t know how many there are I have submitted a FoI to the ‘Welsh’ Government. They must know how many homelessness organisations they’re funding . . . surely?

P.S. I know there are different criteria for assessing homelessness, and those ‘threatened with homelessness’, though I don’t like that second category because – rather like ‘jobs secured’ (as opposed to ‘jobs created’) – it’s open to misuse. Even so, I went the StatsWales website and checked the figures for rough sleepers.

You’ll see that the most recent figure for Bridgend tells us that the estimated number (right hand column) of rough sleepers is 10, with nary a single emergency bed. Whereas in Ceredigion there are no less than 30 emergency beds for an estimated 6 rough sleepers.

I suggest both figures tell us a lot about what really goes on in the ‘Welsh’ homelessness racket.

UPDATE 13.11.2017 – PARTNERSHIP?

It’s become clear to me over the years that there is some kind of co-operation between the ‘Welsh’ Government – or rather, the civil servants who operate in its name – and the various Lottery funds. Emmaus South Wales provides another example.

If we go to the Companies House entry we find under the ‘Charges’ tab two listings, both concern ‘Land and buildings at Nant Lais, Heol y Nant, Bridgend’. I should explain that Charges usually means mortgages, loans, or other forms of indebtedness. If you see too many marked ‘Outstanding’ it can be a cause for concern.

On the Emmaus entry we find one charge with the number 0718 8459 0001 for a mortgage entered into between The Welsh Ministers, as the ‘Mortgagee’ and Emmaus South Wales as the ‘Mortgagor’. This agreement is dated 7 August 2015.

The other Charge, number 0718 8459 0002, is between Emmaus, the ‘Grant Holder’ and the Big Lottery Fund as ‘The Fund’. This is not a mortgage but a grant of £425,000. (See below.) So why is it treated as something other than a straight gift? Because it comes with certain conditions; for example, if Emmaus turns the building into a massage parlour, or flogs it off to some Russians looking for indoor growing facilities, then the grant is forfeit. This agreement is also dated 7 August 2015.

In a sense, they complement or cancel each other.

From the Big Lottery Fund website. Click to enlarge

Here’s a scenario. The ‘Welsh’ Government wants to give this property to Emmaus but fears some malcontent finding out and kicking up a fuss, so they contact the Big Lottery Fund – ‘Oh, look, we’ve got this very worthy cause looking for money to buy something from us, so we’d like you to oblige with a grant’.

Maybe it’s done some other way, but I am in no doubt that there is a well-used system for the various Lottery funds to give money to projects recommended by the ‘Welsh’ Government. The ‘worthy cause’ gets what it wants, the ‘Welsh’ Government can appear prudent with public money, while from the Lottery’s standpoint, if things go tits up, they can say, ‘Ah! but the Welsh Government recommended these people’.

Everybody’s back is covered. Everybody’s a winner!

Except perhaps those communities, and those projects, that aren’t so well connected. Those worthy causes that spend months or years building up support, preparing their bid, only to be beaten by insider dealing such as I’m suggesting in Bridgend. Which of course, just happens to be Carwyn Jones’s constituency.

And if I’m right, then in their very short time in Wales Emmaus has received over one million pounds thanks to the ‘Welsh’ Government.

THE PUBLICLY-FUNDED PRIVATE SECTOR

Another net importer of criminals, paedophiles and others, plus many homeless, is of course the private rented sector – just think Rhyl! – where we find the same ugly combination of self-interest and lack of concern for the consequences of pursuing that self-interest.

A recent news item re-awakened my interest in events in Pembrokeshire. On the evening of November 7 there was a disturbance at a block of flats in Meyrick Street, Pembroke Dock, and it was reported that armed police officers had attended. The flats are in the former Coronation School.

I got to wondering who owns these flats, and so I went to the Land Registry website where I was presented with what appeared to be a long list of individual titles, and although I didn’t count them I assumed it was one for each flat.

I chose two at random, Flat 10 and Flat 31, which was unnecessary because they both have the same title number CYM402081. Why so many different entries for the same title number? Was the intention to sell off the flats individually?

Both title documents say the building was bought by Cathal Eamonn McCosker for £200,000 with money that seems to have been borrowed from Barclays Bank. But others now having a claim on the property are Alexander and Rose Russell of Swindon and Pembrokeshire County Council.

It would appear that in order to meet his obligations Mr McCosker has tried to sell the building. First, at auction on Thursday 27 April 2017 with a guide price of £1.3m. This obviously failed because it was marked “withdrawn by agent”, and then put up for auction again on 08 June 2017 with the guide price now reduced to £975,000. But as we know from the Land Registry, it is still owned by Mr McCosker and his creditors.

With Cathal Eamonn McCosker we have one of the more intriguing stories to emerge from Pembrokeshire in recent times. Despite the widespread assumption that he’s Irish, on the Companies House website he describes himself as British, and gives an address in Oxford.

So what’s the story?

Basically, McCosker stands accused of receiving funding for projects in Pembroke Dock for work that was never done. This scam may have been conducted with the connivance of senior council officials and even a councillor or two. If they weren’t in on the scam then they’re now trying to draw a veil over the whole affair in the hope of saving face.

A number of people have followed the case over the years, including two councillor-bloggers. A good start would be with Councillor Jacob Williams’ Trumped-up charges – Part 4. While another excellent source is Councillor Mike Stoddart, and his Strange business.

I believe I’m right in saying that the Woodward and Bernstein of the Kremlin on the Cleddau actually unearthed the McCosker scandal.

McCosker has appeared on this blog after he cropped up a couple of years ago in a newspaper story about the vast amounts of money being paid in housing benefit to private landlords. I wrote about it in To Those That Have Shall Be Given – Housing Benefit!

McCosker was quoted as receiving £236,834 in housing benefits for his Pembrokeshire properties, with a further £35,248 paid through his E-Lettings company, which he used for the Coronation School flats. A local journalist tells me that this money was being paid into a bank account in the Irish Republic, which raises questions about taxation.

The Coronation School seems to target young people leaving care, many from ‘away’; vulnerable, mainly uneducated young people, many of them with ‘issues’. Conditions in the old school building are said to be primitive, which if true will of course qualify the tenants for social housing.

CONCLUSION

In an earlier post I referred to a system of human trafficking in Wales, a system run by selfish and unscrupulous individuals and organisations that brings into our country people needing expensive help or simply criminals and undesirables that no one else wants.

Which would be bad enough in itself, but we are paying for this. The public money of a poor country is being spent on problems that should not be ours. We are effectively paying to make our communities, like Lampeter and Pembroke Dock, less happy, less safe, and all done in order that Wales & West Housing can expand, or Cathal Eamonn McCosker can get even richer.

This system of bringing another country’s problems into Wales exposes a number of issues.

First, it tells us that we have a third sector that has become bloated due to over-feeding, and because of its size it now wields a malevolent influence on the ‘Welsh’ Government and the civil servants who actually run Wales. This influence damages other sectors that we should be encouraging . . . you know, things like real businesses, that might create real jobs, and increase Wales’ wealth . . . without wrecking Welsh communities

‘Nah, we don’t want none of that nasty prosperity round by ‘ere’.

But then there’s the issue of corruption in Welsh public life, at all levels. Who in their right mind believes it’s a good idea to give hundreds of thousands of pounds to Emmaus, a supposedly self-sufficient organisation?

And why is the investigation into the corruption centred on Cathal Eamonn McCosker stalled? Is it because too many people at both Pembrokeshire County Council and the ‘Welsh’ Government are involved? For the money used to enrich McCosker was EU funding, administered by the Welsh European Funding Office (WEFO).

While writing this I’ve been drawn to three recent posts about Carmarthenshire. The first, was by Siân Caiach, then there was the latest from Jacqui Thompson, and finally, another gem from my favourite blogger, Y Cneifiwr. They all prompt the same question – what other democracy would allow Mark Vincent James (OBE) to ruin so many lives and run Carmarthenshire County Council like a medieval barony?

It doesn’t have to be like this. But everything you see around you is part of the problem, and so can never be part of the solution. Radical change is needed. Wales will soon be offered the hope of change. Be ready!

♦ end ♦

 

  49 Responses to “Publicly-funded Poverty”

  1.  

    Or is public money so easy to come by in Wales that it’s being squandered?

    Whether its easy to come by or not it ultimately comes down to the fact you don’t give a shit about spending money thats not yours. Its also easier to abuse power when its not really earned as well. One of my grievances against the current political setup is that many of these halfwits that call themselves politicians don’t get into power by their own merits but for the party they stand for. If they were elected as an individual maybe they’d have more respect for the power they wield and the people they represent. In truth I think many of them have little respect for the tax payers and their dime as we found out a few years ago with expenses and the obvious fact they treat us like fools. On both counts money and power you’ll find it predominantly attracts a certain type of person and even the good ones can end up turning a blind eye. So a question for the future of Wales is… how do we stop the flies hanging around the shit? (No political parties at local level, no career politicians Assembly level)

    The public money of a poor country is being spent on problems that should not be ours.

    Thats the most important point. We’ve got our own people with issues, we’ve got entire communities with issues – we’re a country with issues. I think part of our problem is we’re too nice about it… because you say uneducated folks from Angleland and first thing I think is… but we can educate them and educate them to be Welsh! But then I remind myself we’ve got our own people who need that money first. I think our good will as a people has always been exploited by our masters. Then when we say no we need to look after our own we’re nasty racist insular nationalists. Yes thats it we must share the scraps we’re given after our country was raped for its natural resources!

    what other democracy would allow Mark Vincent James (OBE) to ruin so many lives and run Carmarthenshire County Council like a medieval barony?

    One that feels it needs a heavy hand to keep the peasants down.

    Rant over.

  2.  

    Well researched again Jac, and issues that have to be addressed by a new party that, hopefully, will be initiated 18 November. I am also of the view that a link to your posts on the subject should be forwarded to National Assembly Public Accounts Committee {PAC} and Wales Audit Office {WAO} who are meant to be the guardians of public funds. Surely you have provided sufficient evidence over the years for them to initiate their own investigation into the management of public funds by these third sector organisations that are not accountable to the local electorate for their actions. My own investigation has revealed that there is no compliance with the code of practice for funding the third sector either by national or local government. You wonder how much evidence is needed before regulators wake up and decide to take action. The starting point is for national and local government to comply with the published code of practice for funding the third sector. That requires project evaluations to be undertaken to demonstrate value for money. It is now clear that those evaluations are not being undertaken, so why is this not being pursued by PAC and WAO.

  3.  

    I really wish that Plaid and others would do something about this problem in Wales, but nobody is interested, its been going on for years. Rather than banging on about people groping female journalists in cabs,why are’nt the media shining a light on this. As you say its a classic case of human traffiking which leads to no end of violent,criminal and disruptive behaviour in our communities, the abuse of our put upon welfare and health services and serious sexual abuse – we know from recent revelations how the so called care system turns a blind eye to the sexual exploitation of kids they are supposed to be protecting.

    •  

      Rather than banging on about people groping female journalists in cabs,why are’nt the media shining a light on this.

      That’s an easy one to answer ‘gaynor’. The establishment and the main media work hand in hand. Real issues are dumbed down or not reported at all – for obvious reasons. The ‘sexier’ stuff like an individual in high places allegedly groping a journalist or putting his hand on a colleague’s knee is far more appetizing drivel for the masses.

      That brings in another facet of our shallow society in the 21st century who are deliberately groomed to hunger after celebrity culture. They are fed an addictive diet of sports, celebrity worship, ‘reality’ TV, silly game shows, soap operas etc. etc. I don’t need to list them all – we all know the scene.

      This brings the masses into a rain puddle depth of understanding of the real world. Get them to ignore the reality or view it as boring, whilst they thumb through the newspaper pages or browse the Internet for juicy hollow scandals or celebrity tit-bits, or who’s team is highest in the league and you’ve got them where you want them. In the meantime the ones in current power can get away with hideous wrongdoings in politics, paedophilia, public funding robbery and all the rest. Simple isn’t it?

      How you can break this vicious cycle of addiction is more problematic. Getting the masses to refocus is a gargantuan project. However all long journeys start with the first step. Our first step will commence on the 18th at Aberystwyth!

      Contact us through the contact form in the right hand pane of this page and ask for your invite to be verified. THEN let’s all turn up and start DOING something about it.

      •  

        They are fed an addictive diet of sports, celebrity worship, ‘reality’ TV, silly game shows, soap operas etc. etc. I don’t need to list them all – we all know the scene.

        “Valleys Cops” with Wild West music like Merthyr is some frontier. Poverty porn for the middle classes. Its like they dug up the worst people they could find. No wonder the middle class hobbyists of Plaid Cymru fail to connect.

        How you can break this vicious cycle of addiction is more problematic. Getting the masses to refocus is a gargantuan project. However all long journeys start with the first step. Our first step will commence on the 18th at Aberystwyth!

        Or we use it. Look at Trump. Think what you want of the man but he generates attention. Thats what we need to do. Generate attention, peacefully and legally of course.

  4.  

    Emmaus owns a parcel of land and a building in southern Gwynedd. It’s located in Cwm Maethlon. To ‘process’ this asset formed they formed a company called Emmaus Bristol Cwm Maethlon Limited, established 2010 and wound up in 2015. This land asset is listed in the accounts of the parent company Emmaus Bristol Limited in 2013.

    I cannot however, find who now owns associated buildings. It was recently renovated into an ‘Eco-Hostel’ by a top notch Bristol architect.

    http://www.askewarchitects.co.uk/cwm-maethlon-eco-hostel

    Strange that the Welsh Government see fit to donate £200k-£300k a year to help the homeless in Bridgend, while this outfit is dabbling in major property asset management in rural Gwynedd, with land and building assets of significant value.

    •  

      Just over the hill from Jac’s parish ! worth taking a look cos if there’s a change of use as suggested on the architects website it’ll probably end up as a pleasant rural retreat for some loaded Anglo. Proceeds to Emmaus holding company subsidised by suckers in Cardiff Bay. Nice work if you can get it !

      •  

        I would have checked it out but I’ve been without a car for a week. My money pit is in for repairs, again. This week though I shall pop over. Though I suppose I shouldn’t really use the car.

        Maybe I should don my FWA fatigues, black up, make sure I’m fully armed, and then wend my way over the ridge towards Cwm Maethlon, where I can observe the place through my night vision binoculars. (Are you reading this, Parry?)

        Alternatively, I could wait until I get the car back tomorrow morning.

        •  

          Parry’ll give you a lift over if you let him have sole rights to photographs of Jac in fatigues, as opposed to a fatigued Jac !
          You might even get a picture of him dropping dead from the excitement of it all.

          •  

            These days Parry wouldn’t know a scoop if you wrote the story for him. The last one he can remember was when he dipped his spoon into the mashed potatoes on Christmas Day 2016. Still, how many days now until the next one, is it 42 by my reckoning?

    •  

      Brychan, I should have mentioned that. Sorry.

      I should also have said that Emmaus South Wales is a registered company. The company has two charges against it for land and buildings at Nant Lais, Heol y Nant, Bridgend. If I’m reading them correctly then the plot is being bought from the ‘Welsh Ministers’, possibly with a grant of £425,000 from the Big Lottery Fund.

      The directors of the company include a Geoffrey Edwin Cheetham who also runs Avidiem Training Ltd of Bridgend, Incorporated in March 2015. No doubt Cheetham is hoping for work from Emmaus. He is of course also a trustee of the charity.

      An earlier business venture of Cheetham’s was Community Mediation Services Rhondda Cynon Taf. Looking through the accounts of this now wound-up company I see that money poured in from all the usual suspects: Cynon Taff Housing Association SLA, Rhondda Cynon Taff SLA, Rhondda Housing Association SLA, and from ‘National Assembly of Wales’ (sic) almost £200,000 in a couple of years (2008 – 2009).

      As is ever the case, a sizeable chunk of this loot – our money! – went in salaries and pensions.

      Same old story; the usual waste of public money, the usual ‘helping’ shysters. How much longer?

      •  

        Nant Lais is/was a sheltered housing complex for the elderly run by Valley2Coast but it closed around 2011/2012 and was derelict. Emmaus has converted it into homes for their workers – so there was already a building there, it’s not a new build.

        The property on Caroline Street listed as the registered office is their shop. They used to have a bigger warehouse-style shop full of bulky goods on Tremains Road but it seems they’ve downsized. They’re quite big on furniture recycling and they’ve been looking for an industrial unit – don’t know if they’ve succeeded.

        In political terms, the most vocal local advocate is Cllr. Jeff Tildesley (who’s on their board, I think). He’s an Independent based in Cornelly.

        •  

          So they’re downsizing at the same time as their income rises? That’s odd. Unless of course much of the money is being syphoned off to some other part of the Emmaus empire.

          Jefferson Houseman Tyldesley MBE was a director (and presumably a trustee) until 23 September 2015.

          Where do they get their workers?

          •  

            If anything they’re expanding. They have shops in all the towns in and around Bridgend when I think they were previously only based in Bridgend. The Tremains Road building is even described as a “superstore” – but I’m not sure if it’s still open or not.

            Homeless people are referred to them by other agencies (social services usually), particularly those who fall well short of criteria for rehousing (single men, for example).

            They’re given accommodation and an allowance on condition they work in the shops/factories for at least 40 hours a week, sign off benefits and deal with any addictions they might have.

            •  

              It seems to be a charity shop operation but one that mends and does up the stuff it’s given, and maybe even makes its own goods for sale. For which it pays vulnerable men “an allowance”. This I would argue makes it a business and, depending on the amount of the ‘allowance’, a business model that might be accused of exploitation.

              But as it’s a registered charity it gets all the benefits of that status, with the added bonus of public and other funding. Which helps explain why Emmaus is so cash and property rich. Just look at how Emmaus South Wales has prospered in such a short time!

              •  

                visited the Porthcawl branch and it is busy. Staff are,or appear to be, a mixed bag of retained (possibly salaried), some volunteers, and those on the “allowance”. Local Welsh accents were predominant so no visible evidence ,yet, of a new Rhyl on the Morgannwg coast. At that level they seem to be giving it their best shot, especially those with some degrees of disability (probably in the allowance group).It’s tough on these people because their conditions still raise all sorts of weird obstacles and objections to their employability in the heart of “progressive” South Wales despite all the legislation in place. Companies will pull all sorts of strokes to avoid employing “physically handicapped” or mentally ill,which is ironic when so many Chief Executives and Directors are severely twisted with psychopathic symptoms much in evidence. These corporate people get away with an awful lot and get awards for their actions which often bring collateral damage to workforces.

                Listening to that silly cow from CBI barking on today about the consequences of Brexit makes me wonder whether British business has any backbone or integrity left in it, wanting everything dished up nice so no one is put out, avoiding the need to reengage with any kind of competitive effort.

                Back to Emmaus. That long list of current and former directors come from a variety of backgrounds. Given that it’s in Bridgend, heartland of CJ’s territory, it must have links to local Labour as well as the formal Cynulliad contacts. And Labour in Bridgend is like the Camorra of Naples, nothing much breaks wind in the rotten borough without their say-so. One to watch in future.

                •  

                  Thanks for making the visit, Dafis – but don’t think you can claim expenses!

                  My concern is more about the business model, and the effect on the public purse, directly and indirectly. Plus of course the obvious duplication in having so many organisations fighting to help the homeless.

                  I shall be making an update to the post after the football explaining certain relationships that most people are unaware of.

                •  

                  Local Welsh accents were predominant so no visible evidence ,yet, of a new Rhyl on the Morgannwg coast.

                  I doubt that’d happen. The converted Jennings Building is selling one bedroom cells from 159k a pop so they’re obviously looking to attract a certain kind of wealth there.

                  •  

                    That will be a problem at a different point on the spectrum. One that is likely to fetch in the poseurs,drawn by the marina “project”, a few who have an occasional trip in a boat and come to regard themselves as “sailors” – more like wankers! Many of these poseurs will be living in South Wales or have roots here but their empathy with Welshness will be superficial at best and will do very little for the area other than cause a blip in prices. The place needed tidying up but FFS solutions need a bit more thought.

                    •  

                      Many of these poseurs will be living in South Wales or have roots here but their empathy with Welshness will be superficial at best

                      Not sure i’d describe it as that. A lot of folks around that way are just not given all the information about their national identity. Of course culture stripping is what Empires do these days… you cannot control the land without the people – take the peoples identity away and they will have less to gripe about. Apart from some of us are that stone in their shoe.

                •  

                  Good to see you mention the blatant hostility that exists on the part of so many where employing the physically disabled or mentally ill is concerned. The worst offenders are of course those businesses who are ‘committed to diversity’ (which translates as employing a number of women and ethnic minorities but only middle class very sharp elbowed ones).

                  Some years ago I took a long hard look at employers who displayed the ‘positive about disability’ logo. They were all atrocious. The North West Wales NHS Trust splashed this all over their correspondence – whilst they managed the Hergest Unit, where care was so bad that it had the second highest suicide rate in Wales and England. There were also numerous complaints about staff assaults on patients. Whilst being positive about disabled people, Ysbyty Gwynedd had a patient who was a young woman with epilepsy. She was admitted on a bank holiday. Because the senior management of the NW Wales NHS Trust had refused to provide senior covering staff at bank holidays and weekends there was no senior reg or consultant on call. No-one on duty knew how to treat the young woman – she was very severely epileptic – and they got the medication wrong. She ended up brain damaged, in a vegetative state. The NW West Wales NHS Trust were so positive about disabled people that they created them.

                  However the biscuit was well and truly taken by a ‘nursing home’ on the North Wales coast for mentally ill young women. I had the misfortune to work there for a month but walked out when I was told by a ‘manager’ to ‘just hit’ the patients if I had any problems with them. From what I saw the (young female) patients were being groomed for prostitution. (Yes of course I reported all this to the authorities – no action was taken but I was threatened by two ‘inspectors’ from Conwy Social Services.) The ‘nursing home’ was of course ‘positive about disabled people’. And it had an Investors In People award.

                  A total joke Dafis, all of it. But then so are the anti-discrimination laws…

  5.  

    ‘Anti-social housing’. I’ve been longing for someone to come up with a name for it.

    I’d love to see a real-world replacement too for ‘vulnerable people’, who seem to be everywhere these days, chancers chased by an ever-expanding army of pamperers eager to advocate their cause. The less specific one can be about the nature of their vulnerability, the better. It would be politically incorrect to ask.

    If there’s a social problem, DEAL WITH IT. Don’t create one tax-guzzling new ‘profession’ after another, all with a vested interest in NEVER dealing with it. We have a system that constantly, and always dogmatically, redefines each problem, avoiding any scrutiny of what’s really going on, while condemning yesterday’s folk to re-education or worse for not keeping up with the in-crowd.

    Working in the public sector, I see exactly where thousands of parasitical staff could be ‘let go’ or redeployed for the common good. The problem lies in there being too few politicians with the right combination of skills and powers. Insight is needed to know where savings can be made harmlessly. Courage is needed to make the harder decisions. Flexibility is needed to make them less hard by following through on the consequences, something not possible without real and wide-ranging powers. Resilience is needed to face down the squeals of outrage from the stuck pigs, who always seek a reprieve by appealing to some wider body.

    The solution, as always, is the community-benefit state, where public funding depends, in all but cases of total incapacity, on what you’re prepared to offer your community, not on presumed entitlements as a hedonistic individual.

    Big Gee has offered some interesting criticisms here of the ‘Left/Right’ duopoly but I’d like to throw in one more element. Calling people ‘progressives’ or ‘reactionaries’ is for those who have the luxury of choosing a direction of travel. Nationalist thought in Wales is about neither. It’s about survival. Standing firm is the priority. Once you find your feet, THEN you can decide where to go, on your own terms.

  6.  

    As we have seen from the overcharging at Ty’r Gelli it would be wise for local authorities throughout Wales to investigate all ‘homeless accommodation schemes’ in Wales who deduct service charges from housing benefit, pension credit and other benefits.

    http://democracy.carmarthenshire.gov.wales/documents/s16999/Summary%20-%20Water%20Charges%20at%20Tyr%20Gelli%20Llanelli.pdf

    Although, in this case a sheltered housing scheme has been found wanting, whether it is a local authority or a charity institution, it’s important to ensure that these organisations are not profiting from overcharging by advance deductions of benefit payments, and any subsequent rebates are paid in full, in cash, to the individuals being accommodated.

  7.  

    As you are aware Jac I am currently examining issues in Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire. I have now added the following paragraph on the subject of rough sleeping to my report on “Offender and Homeless Management in the Community”.

    Rough Sleeping
    An examination of government guidance on the subject of “rough sleeping” and data published by “Stats Wales” raises various concerns, as listed below.
    • No independent verification that rough sleeper counts are being conducted in accordance with agreed methodology.
    • Data is verified by a charity with a vested interest in exaggerating rough sleeper numbers to maximise grant aid funding. No independent verification of data by local or national government official.
    • Local Authorities have discretion on whether to submit returns based on actual counts or estimated number. No requirement to specify which method is adopted. The information published by “Stats Wales” is therefore a mixture of actual counts by some authorities and estimated numbers by other authorities.
    • No requirement for neighbouring authorities to arrange count on the same night to avoid double-counting: this is only a recommendation.
    • No standard template letter issued to counters.
    • No requirement to provide supporting evidence to substantiate returns. For example, which agencies were consulted if estimated returns are provided. Do they agree with estimate.
    • Data published by “Stats Wales” confirms total number of emergency bed spaces available in Ceredigion 2015 / 16 and 2016 / 17 was 42 and 30 respectively with estimated number of rough sleepers 6. This suggests that misleading information may be provided in order to justify continued / increased grant funding of projects.

    •  

      Unfortunately this problem extends beyond the homeless. Those with a vested interest in exaggerating the ‘need’ – and consequently the funding ‘needed’ – are the very ones collecting the data. It’s insane . . . or rather, it’s how the third sector is allowed to dictate the agenda and funding priorities in Wales.

    •  

      In cases of domestic violence the CPS has new guidelines to consider “the continuing threat to the health and safety of the victim” in relation to taking forward a prosecution in the courts. It only considers the individual offence not the treat to the wider community. These means that legal advice given to the suspect is to remove themselves voluntarily from the domestic setting (intentionally homeless, preferably at a remote location, even if temporary) to avoid prosecution. The MoJ must have statistics on these numbers as the offender would have been already charged with the offence and be currently of no fixed abode or accommodated by a ‘homelessness charity’. FoI request?

      •  

        I can see the sense in moving a vulnerable woman away from any threat, and it seems I’m not alone, for there are a number of agencies in Wales providing accommodation for victims of domestic violence. This must be supported.

        But as we are talking about the third sector in Wales it’s almost certain that Wales is taking in many women from England for no better reason than funding is easily available, funding the primary purpose of which is to provide jobs for Labour cronies.

        There was a guy I knew living in Barmouth who used to bring me all the local news, and he regularly told me of one such refuge in that town. This is how it worked: women – often with a few kids in tow – would arrive at the hostel; very soon their estranged partner would appear, they’d announce a ‘reconciliation’; now finding themselves in unsuitable accommodation the family would become the responsibility of the county council (which then had control over social housing).

        We have to face the fact that there is a kind of underclass that has no real roots, and is entirely dependent on benefits and help from charities and third sector bodies. With few possessions those belonging to this class can quite easily up sticks and move at a moment’s notice. And this is what many of them choose to do; after running up debts, or outstaying their welcome, they like a change of scenery.

        This peripatetic sector of the population finds Wales attractive because it’s far away from those they’d rather not bump into, but more importantly, because there are dozens of well-funded organisations in Wales falling over themselves to ‘help’ in all sorts of ways.

        I don’t wish to come across as a callous old bastard, but that’s the reality. I see these people in Tywyn, and you can spot them in every small town in Wales where there are social or private landlords with property to fill and someone else to pay the bills. It’s become a cottage industry. Literally, in some places.

        •  

          Jac, your description of rootless people with few possessions who are dependent upon state benefits/the Third sector fits a group of people that I too have identified but the reason that so many of them have come to places like rural Wales – where they have no social contacts or support network – is that they have been positively encouraged if not coerced into doing so by the state bureaucrats (social workers, benefit advisors etc) who hold the purse strings. I know that both Liverpool and Manchester were sending the citizens that they basically didn’t want and needed looking after to north Wales – I think that Birmingham was sending theirs to Barmouth. The people involved were NOT asking to go to Wales, Wales was being sold to them in terms of a ‘fresh start’. The rationale was for England to wash its hands of needy expensive people.

          I also witnessed psych patients from north Wales – Bangor and Caernarfon area – being ‘encouraged’ to move to England by the mental health teams based at the Hergest Unit. The other patients could see that this was a ludicrous and dangerous idea. One patient – who had lived in north Wales since she was six and was severely suicidal – was sent to the south of England for a ‘fresh start’. Within three weeks she had thrown herself off a bridge – which was completely predictable. The ‘fresh start’ was abandonment by another name. I knew this patient quite well – the thing that has always bothered me was that she was one of the kids who had been a victim of the paedophile ring that operated in north Wales in the 70s and 80s. She had worrying tales to tell – and she wouldn’t shut up about them either. She was sent for her ‘fresh start’ just before the Waterhouse Inquiry started taking evidence from former kids in care…

          Whether ‘fresh starts’ have been encouraged en masse to get rid of complainants I do not know. I do however know of one young woman from Birmingham who was raped at the age of 12 who ended up in a secure psychiatric unit – an abusive one – who arrived in Barmouth for a ‘fresh start’. Some years later she developed severe post natal depression, could not ‘access’ any treatment and jumped off a multi-story car park. The clinical director of the secure unit in Birmingham in which this young woman was confined was the psychiatrist who had played a key role in concealing the activities of psychiatrists in north Wales who had facilitated the north Wales paedophile ring. It makes one wonder doesn’t it…

          Anyone’s nain could tell you that sending suicidal severely distressed people hundreds of miles away to an unfamiliar town where they know no-one – and in the case of ‘fresh starts’ between north Wales and England don’t even speak the same language – is not going to have a happy ending.

          •  

            As you say, so much of what is done is thinly-disguised washing of hands.

            There’s another relocation strategy evident now that no one seems to even bother disguising. I’m referring to the social cleansing taking place in many London boroughs. The removal of poor people living in properties and areas from which speculators can make a lot of money, and being done with the full co-operation of both central and local government.

        •  

          It is not just the NHS and housing Social Services also picks up a lot of ££££££. All anecdotal some decent research would be helpful need an AM / Cabinet member to start collecting some local statistics should be quite easy for small local authorities and then start asking for national research. Of course these kind of complaints have a long history starting with the Elizabethan Poor Law and ordinary residence, for example poor blind woman sent back to North Wales from Presteigne on a horse by the Presteigne Guardians and the people of Newport were not very keen on receiving the victims of the Irish famine either.

          •  

            Adarynefoedd – I wanted to do just such an analysis some years ago ie. assemble a team of sociologists, economists, linguists etc and explore who was coming into Wales from elsewhere, why they had come and which resources they were dependent upon. It was just far, far too contentious – everyone told me that it would make a great project (it would have been a major programme of work), but then they all started getting very anxious. What if it looked as though as I was stoking up anti-English feeling? What if I looked as though I was giving ammunition to people who wanted to bash those on benefit – or even encourage hate crime?

            I could understand the concerns – but I explained loudly and clearly that my interest was in the way in which ‘England’ (ie. the English authorities) seemed to be exporting it’s citizens who needed support to Wales, only for Westminster Gov’ts to then suggest that Wales was somehow deficient for having a high proportion of folk on benefits, categorised as disabled etc. I am sure that I could have led such a piece of work and published it in such a way that I would not have given ammo to anyone as feared. It was no-go. I do not think that any funding body would have touched it anyway – the big research councils marginalise Wales constantly and rarely stump up for anything Wales-based, charities wouldn’t dare fund it for fear of what would be revealed and neither would the Assembly. This is the way in which it is ensured that the most exciting research never actually gets done – everyone just refuses to fund it.

            I think that the topic that we are discussing here is rather like the concerns that there were in Bradford some years ago. Some researchers in Bradford Royal Infirmary discovered that among some – not all – of the South Asian communities living in the city, there was a high rate of mortality among female infants (much higher than one would have expected) and problems with genetically inherited disorders as a result of marriage between cousins. A silence was maintained about both problems – far too politically sensitive. Recently there has been an admission re the disorders that may result from marriages between first cousins – but I bet that none of the readers of this blog knew about the female babies dying in higher than expected numbers. You won’t hear it discussed – Bradford is haunted by the spectre of the BNP and Nick Griffin and their success in achieving seats on the Council and no-one dares say anything that they could use as campaigning material.

            It is a real problem – look how much we’ve heard about South Asian men grooming teenaged girls for sex, yet white British born men have been doing exactly the same. The problem is actually one of institutionalised organised child abuse in the UK children’s social services, but no-one dares admit that. Better to blame it on the darkies.

        •  

          I can see the sense in moving a vulnerable woman away from any threat, and it seems I’m not alone, for there are a number of agencies in Wales providing accommodation for victims of domestic violence. This must be supported.” – Jac

          Actually, it’s more usual for the suspect to be removed from the household, not the victim. Initially by the police, and subsequently by a court order. My point is that the suspect deliberately becomes a ‘rough sleeper’ as a way of exerting forms of control and pressure upon the victim. A decision to join the ‘awkward squad’ unleashing a tirade of anti-social behaviour. I have to question why those who support third sector ‘homelessness charities’ are supporting wife bashers and sex offenders who use their manufactured plight to exert power and control over their victims.

  8.  

    Hywel Williams tweets By failing to support our #GiveWalesASay amendment last night, the Conservatives and Labour have silenced Wales on Brexit.
    http:// www2.partyof.wales/give_wales_say

    Does this mean that Plaid will now declare the start of an all out campaign to gain independence from a supremacist entity that ignores our national interest, or is it just another round of attention seeking posturing that will lead us nowhere just like Leanne’s spouting of stale mantras about harassment and other ishoos ?
     

    •  

      Hywel Williams talks sh*te. And in Parliament always portrays in complicated matters as a bumbling amateur at best – a sort of political Benny Hill’s Ernie the Milkman without hair.

      And I’m a Plaid member.

  9.  

    […] Jac o’ the North questions the finances of commercially-operated third sector bodies. […]

    •  

      just had a look at that best of the Blogs and found among other eccentric sites – National Left – Wales needs a progressive left future.
      yeah, like a hole in its head !! Those 2 words – progressive and left, give me shivers as they smack of yet more of the pseudo socialist drivel we get regularly from Madam Wood and her camp followers.

  10.  

    Not seen it commented here – Housing Associations in England [not Wales?] now classed as private sector/entities to remove billions from government borrowing figures.
    Will same happen in Wales? Will it also mean increasing and more problem families and tenants being dumped on [or eagerly awaited by?]Wales HA’s by English HA’s?

    With regard to the mentioned DV victim rehousing – this is another racket although maybe less so now. Apart from the genuine claimants most were Mothers seeking to gain advantage in family courts eg keeping the kids, going straight on housing list and securing benefits [and covering up in some cases their own abusive behaviour].
    Anywhere you look in Wales there is a mountain of pubic money/funding chasing a “victim” or “label” but nothing to help the ordinary working man or woman [or family] – who also paid into the Fund as an extra kick in the teeth.

    •  

      Would that also mean that the HAs would be totally (or more fully) exempt from FoI?

    •  

      The original ONS directive was that, due to the amount of public funding involved, and the degree of government – and local government – interaction, housing associations should become public bodies. This would have meant, among other things, that they would have been subject to FoI legislation and been more open to scrutiny in other ways.

      As might have been expected, our ‘Welsh’ housing associations were horrified at this prospect and went into overdrive lobbying their friends in ‘Welsh’ Labour and the ‘Welsh’ Government. What they wanted was to address the issues of government intervention, but of course hang on to the public funding. In other words, make HAs even less accountable.

      The ‘Welsh’ Government did as it was told.

      What’s happened in England, with HAs being ‘privatised’, may be little more than an agreement on less ministerial and council intervention in order to satisfy the ONS and allow HAs to revert to their previous status. If so, and if Wales follows suit, then we’re back to square one.

      If we check Section 93 of the relevant legislation for England we see that the real change is to remove local government influence. With many ‘Welsh’ housing associations it is only local government intervention that has prevented them from behaving totally irresponsibly.

      I have argued for many years that housing associations must either be fully privatised, and raise their own money; or else, if they are to get public funding, become public bodies open to scrutiny. The ‘twilight zone’ they currently inhabit, where they operate as publicly-funded private companies, does not serve the public interest, or the public purse.

      I’m not optimistic.

  11.  

    Just wanted to say all the very best to everyone involved in tomorrow’s meeting in Aberystwyth. I hope you make good progress and I look forward to following developments over the coming months and years. Cymru am byth.

    •  

      Thanks. You’ll all be kept informed.

    •  

      DIOLCH Coch-y-Bonddu!

      I’ve just finished my paperwork as the pro-tem chair for tomorrow’s meeting. I hope all the invited delegates have managed to download & print everything. We don’t want blank looks staring at us because they didn’t get their agenda sheets and other documents! It’s been a struggle to get everything sorted, but we got there in the end. Sorry that some e-mails were a bit last minute, but, as I said, we got there in the end.

      It’s starting to dawn on me exactly how important this meeting is tomorrow – the first step on what could be a long journey.

  12.  

    […] decline should have been evident to anyone who read my recent piece Publicly-funded Poverty (under the section heading, ‘The Publicly-funded Private Sector’), where I discussed the fate […]

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