Many years ago (during the early 1990’s if memory serves) I helped, together with many other concerned folk, to bring a branch of the Citizens Advice Bureau to what was then my home town of Maghull (I live in Lydiate these days). It operated from Maghull Town Hall, was supported in terms of utility costs and via a nil rental charge by Maghull Town Council and was for the early years an outpost/outreach of Formby CAB.
Some years later the CAB’s across Sefton Borough merged into one organisation but they continued to operate out of Bootle, Crosby, Formby, Southport and indeed Maghull. However, as with many things these days they suffer from the withdrawal of the public money which significantly supports the vital advice services they deliver and have been delivering for many years.
The poster below is presently displayed on the outside noticeboard of Maghull Town Hall and it tells a story:-
Maghull does not have a CAB facility these days and the operation of what is now called ‘Citizens Advice’ for Sefton Borough (the word Bureau having seemingly been dropped in terms of its modern identity) can be accessed via the link below:-
I’m not trying to apportion blame here for the demise of CAB facilities in communities like Maghull but the financial crash of 2007, as with many things, must be a significant factor.
I do know that for the years the CAB operated in Maghull it had a regular throughput of folks wanting and needing advice. Clearly, they have to travel for such advice these days and the fact that Maghull no longer has a CAB must be a sad reflection on the state of our society.
Bootle Crest. This version is fixed to the wall of the Council Chamber in Bootle Town Hall.
The Liverpool Echo has the story on its web site – see link above
Quote from the Echo article – ‘More people are struggling to pay their debts in Bootle than anywhere else in the north west.
New research reveals the scale of the debt crisis facing the town, which has the fifth highest levels of insolvency in Britain’.
Debt must be up there with poor health (indeed it is a significant cause of ill health) as being a blight on the lives of people. Many politicians have tried to fix the position of the poor, because debt and poverty go hand in hand, but still our society has a significant proportion of it where poverty is an everyday thing.
Our welfare system designed by William Beveridge (and tinkered with by government after government) forms the basis of the safety net to assist those with little yet problems of poverty still persist. Maybe it’s time for a new war on poverty as it will always fuel debt.
Here’s what Beveridge was trying to do, all be it in the first half of the last century:-
Surely poverty is the greatest social challenge to the UK yet no prominent politician has obviously led a campaign to address it in recent times. Indeed, it was not so long ago that senior politicians in the Labour Party were all but falling in behind the Tories in attacking the poor in an attempt to gain votes from the middle classes. And of course even some Liberals (what would Beveridge have thought of them?) were sucked into what almost became a shameful mainstream political movement against those on welfare.
The longer that poverty and causes and consequences of it are political no go areas for major party politicians the more the poor will be exploited by UKIP and the the far right for their own purposes. It’s time to wake up and smell the coffee all you supposedly progressive politicians, especially those of you who take far too much notice of the rabid right wing press.