'Insulting, patronising, offensive': Council sends money-saving tips to thousands of cuts victims
PUBLISHED: 17:49 16 September 2019 | UPDATED: 08:11 17 September 2019
Money saving tips offered by Norfolk County Council to families who have seen their financial support slashed have been slammed as "demeaning and insulting".
Following changes to its minimum income guarantee provision early this year, the county council circulated a range of 'tips' for saving money to almost 2,800 people affected by them.
The leaflets include advice about food shopping, bills and budgeting, along with contact numbers for various other advisors and organisations.
Another leaflet distributed suggested a range of reasons people struggle with money, including gambling.
One of these was delivered to Charlie Taylor, the son of Judith and Nick Taylor, from Buxton, who lives with Down's syndrome.
Mrs Taylor said: "It is demeaning and insulting; quite honestly it is an insult.
"The message it sends for me is that the council is making cuts while realising that they will be creating big financial issues for people."
The leaflets have also sparked anger among opposition councillors.
Labour group leader Steve Morphew said: "It is hard to find words for how insulting, patronising, condescending and offensive this is.
"Having casually imposed huge hardships on disabled young adults and their carers whose selflessness and dignity should be celebrated rather than abused, this is beyond unacceptable.
"They need advice, but work with them to ensure their needs are met."
Mr Morphew will table a motion at council next week, calling on adult social care cabinet member Bill Borrett to apologise for its circulation.
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A County Hall spokesman said: "We launched the Money Support Service in April and a leaflet was produced, using information from relevant websites such as the Money Advice Service, Stepchange and Citizens' Advice. The leaflet was included in a letter sent in May to 2,786 people affected by changes to the charging policy.
"As soon as we received feedback from people, in July of this year, who were offended by the leaflet, the council took the decision to stop issuing it.
"We have apologised for any offence caused and a new version will be available shortly."
The following pointers were included in the leaflets:
- Write a list before you go shopping - and stick to it
- Avoid convenience foods and fast food - it often costs less to make your own meals
- Try the supermarket own brand of items you buy regularly
- Eat breakfast - it will keep you feeling full so you're not tempted to spend money on a larger and more expensive lunch
- Sell unwanted computer games, CDs and DVDs
- Turn off the lights and electrical items when not needed
- Sign up for loyalty cards and cashback websites to earn points and cashback on your regular purchases
- Buy non-perishable items such as rice and pasta in bulk
- Batch cook food and freeze it so you have several days' worth of meals easily to hand