An email arrives from Cllr Steven Bridgett, a Lib Dem councillor on Northumberland Council which has a minority Lib Dem. He says:
"Whilst we may sit on different sides of the political fence, I tend to agree with many of the issues your raise regarding local government. My favourite was obviously 100 ways to cut council tax."
"As a result I have attached some documents to this e-mail regarding what my authority (Northumberland) is up to by creating two Migration Matters posts, naturally I have a million other things the £700,000 budget could be spent on."
I email back checking he is willing to be disclosed as the source which he is – also suggesting that perhaps he should defect to the Conservatives. He already seems to be a semi detached Lib Dem having resigned the Group whip and has criticised their spending of £210,000 a year on a Council magazine.
Anyway, this Migration Matters funding seems to be mostly coming to the Council via the Government office North East. The one area where I think money should be spent is teaching English but wading through the briefing passed on by Cllr Bridgett it is clear that only a small minority of the £700,000 will be spent on this. Some of the work will be to ensure that immigrants get into the swing of living in this country with ensuring "children and dependents of migrants benefit through increased take up of welfare benefits and Tax Credits." So staff will be actively promoting more people getting locked into dependency. The failure to teach English will be addressed by "Co-ordinating production of the Northumberland Welcome Pack and Translation and Interpretation Improvement Programme as set out in Strand 2."
Other comments include:
Project will be managed by the cultural diversity team of NCC People Directorate and will aim to promote cultural diversity with young people…..To develop awareness of and challenge stereotypes…..Community Development Officer. (CDO) – alongside the Project Manager, a Community Development Officer will be appointed to promote links between services in the county and migrant workers through effective access to information and via support for community groups and community development practice in partnership with VCS experts…..Managing and organising cultural awareness training for staff emphasising shared culture between nationalities and differences which need to be recognised – challenging perceptions based on NEPCO /Berwick / Health Trust delivery models (development of new cultural awareness qualification under strand 3 supports this) awareness raising for professionals i.e. service information, signposting information services, improving information handling skills…..celebration events linked to mainstream arts and cultural programmes potentially using the citizen’s day framework linking to the cohesion agenda.
On it goes for page after page. It is not necessary to understand all the gibberish to grasp the essential meaning. This will be a vast waste of money.