THE Debt Support Unit is facing savage funding cuts from April which will result in 12 highly skilled advisers facing redundancy.
A policy motion put to full council by the Green councillors triggered a debate calling on the government to continue to fund this service. These workers have advised 1,930 people, dealt with 25.6m of debt and prevented repossession of 110 homes in the last year alone. They also support hundreds of staff in advice centres and other organisations like housing associations.
They ensure that access to vital debt expertise is available across the city.
Yet just as unemployment rises even further, and so-called welfare 'reforms' result in benefit cuts for millions, the government sweeps away the services which help people to survive an economic mess they have not caused.
The global financial crisis was caused by governments allowing banks to take unacceptable risks. Mortgages, entered into in good faith by would-be homeowners became the casino currency of global financiers.
The banks' reckless speculation created a fragile housing bubble which burst, forcing people into debt and homelessness. Credit easily becomes unmanageable debt when jobs are lost and houses won't sell. Our political leaders let it happen because of their blind belief in letting the market rip, regardless of the consequences.
The debate about the Debt Support Unit job losses saw both Lib-Dem and Labour parties lamenting that the cuts affect the most vulnerable. This is hypocrisy as long as they continue policies which cause poverty and insecurity in the first place.
Sadly neither would admit their lack of courage to control the banks or close tax loopholes which allow around 100 billion to be lost from the public purse a year.
Cuts to debt support services hit the victims of our barely legal banking system. Yet the perpetrators continue to fleece us all. Politicians are too scared to mend their ways. Just how long will voters be taken for a ride by this callous cuts con-trick?
Bernard Little, co-chair Sheffield and Rotherham Green Party
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