Monday, 28 December 2009

Scottish Government Accused of Abandoning Homeless Scots in London

It never ceases to amaze me the number of 'charities' there are in this country. Borderline is one of these. It supports those from north of the border who are facing homelessness in London and receives around half of its total income from the Scottish Government. It was given £107,100 last year.

Borderline bosses fear the future of the 'service' is now at risk after it's grant was reduced to £49,184 for 2010/11.

Willie Docherty, chief executive officer at Borderline, said: “We think the Scottish Government has a duty to protect Scots who are homeless in London and may be fleeing abuse.

“There is an increasing demand for our service, particularly during the recession when people are falling out of work and they need our help to get them back on an even keel.

The Scottish Government funding is part of the Housing Voluntary Grant Scheme which is awarded every year to projects tackling housing problems. A total of £2.4m has been awarded to 29 projects in 2010/11, compared with £2.1m for the current financial year.

The charity, which is the only project operating outside Scotland to receive funding as part of the HVGS, also assists people to settle in London. Several new applicants to the HVGS have been given funding for 2010/11 with £34,721 being awarded to Quarriers in Bridge of Weir and £38,809 to the Calman Trust in Inverness. Other grants include £274,000 for the Scottish Housing Advisory Service, £200,000 for Shelter Scotland's housing law service and £40,000 for the Legal Services Agency in Glasgow.

A Scottish Government spokesman said, "Borderline has received in excess of £1.2m from the Scottish Government since 1999. The priority, we decided, was to help homeless Scots return to Scotland. For that reason Borderline was awarded funding." The latest figures for 2006/2007 show that Borderline assisted two people to relocate back to Scotland every month.

To me the Borderline charity sounds rather Victorian. "Scotman/woman runs off to London to escape domestic abuse/make their fortune/find a job/disappear (delete as appropriate). Surely there can't still be people who believe the streets of London are paved with gold? Then again, there are still people who believe the labour party has all the answers to the UK's ills.

Should we be funding a charity like Borderline which was set up in 1990 by the Church of Scotland London Advisory Service? I don't think so. No matter how good their service it's discriminatory unless they provide a service in say Birmingham, Manchester or Bristol and other big cities. For that reason I don't think it should be funded from the public purse.

Borderline appears to be a 'feeder' agency. In other words they don't undertake much themselves but pass enquiries onto the larger charities or local councils. There is a serious problem in the UK where there are thousands of small 'charities' providing overlapping services but few seem to work together. The reason is each is, understandably, desperate to protect their funding.

Good government would do a thorough investigation of the agencies which receive public funding and trim them into effective and efficient providers. Tiny charities have little or no clout. I often wonder if these agencies are of more benefit to their employees than their client group.


Old Holborn said...

Their accounts

It's yet another scam.

subrosa said...

Many thanks Oh, much appreciated. I did look myself but your search skills are far superior.

Definitely another case of 'jobs for the boys and/or girls'.

Quiet_Man said...

There are plenty of charities in and around London to help the homeless, the Scottish government would do well to remember charity begins at home.

subrosa said...

I think that's why they've reduced it this coming year QM and it wouldn't surprise me if they stopped the grant for next year.

Anonymous said...

I think its a shame when people feel the need to attack others that are helping those less well off. Your point about the charity being discriminatory unless it provides help in other cities is rather weak. I'm sure they would provide a service if needed and if the funding was there for other cites but the fact is even in this day and ages people still flee Scotland thinking London is paved with gold... Can we not help those people rather than knock those that try to?

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