Hinterland - 18 September 2018

This week sad reflections on just how much our sector has shrunk over the last decade. A very chastening storiy about the NHS, the Anglican Church as a social policy dynamo relevant to rural areas and the wolves are circling around another stalwart of the High Street. We also mourn the passing of Dudley Sutton.  Read on.....

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Redundancies have cost English councils £4bn since 2010 – study

It's easy on a day to day basis to forget just how much local government has been hollowed out. Whilst efficiency is a thing to value this is salutary reading as theses cuts go deep into our mission to look after the most vulnerable. This story tells us:

English councils have spent almost £4bn making more than 220,000 staff redundant since 2010, according to research that highlights the impact of cuts to local government funding.

Data obtained by the Local Government Chronicle (LGC) shows the north-west has lost the most municipal jobs – more than 41,190 – followed by London (34,804) and the West Midlands (33,904).

Birmingham city council, the UK’s largest local authority, made by far the highest number of redundancies over the period – 8,769 – halving its workforce. As a consequence, the council spent the most on

Manchester city council carried out nearly 4,000 redundancies over the period, at a cost of £75.4m, followed by Lancashire county council (3,815, costing £89.3m), Liverpool city council (3,621, costing £71.3m), and Sheffield city council (3,616, costing £66.2m).

The figures are likely to be an underestimate because they refer only to staff directly employed by councils and do not include redundancies made by private companies that provide municipal services under outsourcing contracts.

Although the biggest councils had the highest numbers of job losses, authorities in the north of England were proportionately the worst affected. There were eight council job cuts per 1,000 head of population in the north-east, six per 1,000 in the north-west and West Midlands, and four per 1,000 in Yorkshire and the Humber.



NHS mental health crisis worsens as 2,000 staff quit per month

The growing challenge highlighted here bites deepest in rural health providers where we have a third less staff per head than the England average. This story tells us:

Thousands of nurses, therapists and psychiatrists are quitting NHS mental health services, raising serious doubts about ministerial pledges to dramatically expand the workforce.

Two thousand mental health staff a month are leaving their posts in the NHS in England, according to figures from the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC). The news comes as services are already seriously understaffed and struggling to cope with a surge in patients seeking help for anxiety, depression and other disorders.

A total of 23,686 mental health staff left the NHS between June 2017 and the end of May this year, health minister Jackie Doyle-Price told Labour MP Paula Sherriff last week. That is the equivalent of one in eight of the sector’s whole workforce. One in 10 mental health posts were unfilled at the end of June, Doyle-Price also told Sherriff, the shadow mental health minister. While 187,215 whole-time-equivalent staff work in the sector, the total should be 209,233.



Archbishop of Canterbury to lead effort to buy £400 million Wonga debt

One of two stories this week that demonstrates the Anglican Church still has a contemporary relevance. This will be good news for those rural debtors on Wonga's books if it comes off.

The Archbishop of Canterbury is to lead a not-for-profit attempt to buy the £400m Wonga loan book following the company’s collapse, it has been reported.

Justin Welby will meet potential investors and charities to discuss bidding for the debts in an attempt to protect some 200,000 borrowers who may be forced to pay back loans at sky-high rates if a commercial lending firm takes the business.

Under early proposals, the consortium would seek to reduce what borrowers owed by scraping – or vastly bringing down – the interest, The Guardian reports.

Archbishop of Canterbury calls for halt to Universal Credit

Archbishop vows to work with unions ‘to hold businesses to account’

Scale of problem debt at ‘epidemic levels’, says Justin Welby

Archbishop of Canterbury warns about Brexit and ‘crushing’ austerity

The action comes after the Labour MP Frank Field suggested the Church of England use some of its £7bn assets to take over the loan book.

As chair of the Commons work and pensions committee, he has asked Wonga’s administrators to delay any sale until the church had considered if it could act.


Paperchase left crumpled as insurers axe cover

Another story about a company dear to my heart which proves how tough it is to function on our modern high streets.

Pressure is mounting on stationery chain Paperchase after credit insurers pulled cover for suppliers amid concerns over the company’s finances.

Sources have told The Sunday Telegraph that credit insurer Euler Hermes is no longer offering cover for new contracts. It is the world’s leading credit insurer, controlling more than a third of the market.

Rival credit insurers Coface and ­Atradius are also understood to have adjusted their terms in a blow to the greetings cards retailer.

Credit insurance protects suppliers by shielding them against the risk of a customer going out of business ­between an order being accepted and a payment being made.


Days of Prima Donna Parish Priests are over says new Dean

This is not news to me. Our vicar covers 8 parishes and continues to be a champion for rural dwellers of all faiths. The non religious work our vicars do in rural areas is sadly overlooked all too often.

The Church of England is moving away from “prima donna” priests, the new Dean of Salisbury has said.

Modern clergy need to be willing to work with others, and can no longer be a "king" in their parish, the Very Reverend Nicholas Papadopulos told the Sunday Telegraph.

Mr Papadopulos, who worked with newly ordained priests for five years in his previous role as canon treasurer of Canterbury Cathedral, was installed on September 9 as the 81st Dean of the 800-year-old cathedral.

Ahead of starting his new role he said the shift towards clergy being responsible for several different parishes meant they needed to be able to "nurture" others and be collaborative. 

Shrinking congregations and a smaller clergy means vicars are increasingly having to cover more than one parish as part of their job, particularly in rural areas.

A Church of England report released in 2016 shows that between 1960 and 2011 the proportion of parishes which were in "multi-parish benefices" rose from 17 per cent to 71 per cent.


And Finally….
Lovejoy actor Dudley Sutton dies of cancer aged 85

The sad passing of another rural icon of the small screen remembered in Hinterland.

Actor Dudley Sutton, who was known for playing Tinker Dill in the TV series Lovejoy, has died aged 85, his agent has confirmed.

Sutton's representative Natasha Stevenson said the actor died on Saturday afternoon surrounded by friends and family.

A statement from the actor's management said he died peacefully on Saturday at the Royal Trinity Hospice in London surrounded by his family, following a battle with cancer.

A message from the film and TV star's family said: "Today we're devastated by the loss of our beautiful Dudley, who leaves a gaping hole in all our lives.

"We're grateful for the love expressed by friends and fans everywhere and for the extraordinary care he received at the Royal Trinity Hospice in Clapham, south London, where he went out fighting for our NHS."

Sutton starred opposite Ian McShane in the comedy-drama mystery series throughout its run from 1986 to 1994.

Sutton's character was a tout who was friends with the titular roguish antique dealer played by McShane.

His other TV appearances included a special Christmas episode of BBC sitcom Porridge with Ronnie Barker and Richard Beckinsale and an instalment of ITV crime drama The Sweeney.



About the author:
Hinterland is written for the Rural Services Network by Ivan Annibal, of rural economic practitioners Rose Regeneration.


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