Travellers are being offered interest-free loans funded by the taxpayer to buy their own land.Oh, and they will set the repayment time span, not the council.
The new project will give groups of travellers 'mortgages' of up to £50,000 to buy acres of fields on which to settle.
The Conservative-run council…
The council behind the scheme insists it will solve the problem of finding suitable sites for official gipsy pitches.And if they decide not to? What then?
A council leaflet encourages travellers to choose sites in built-up areas near schools, transport links and shops.
Oh, let me guess. You’ll shrug, and give them the money anyway.
The project has been devised by Mendip District Council in Somerset, which says it needs to find 87 pitches over the next two years.Oh, why? Because council-employed builders need to comply with all sorts of H&S and environmental regulation, perchance?
Officials have struggled to find suitable sites in the county and say council-run sites are expensive to build and maintain.
What are the odds that the travellers will do so?
Outlining the controversial scheme yesterday, council housing project officer Lynden Clarke said: 'We're looking at creating small sites for four to six pitches, with a handful of families per pitch.It’s not a ‘win-win’ for those families that are paying for this, Lynden-with-a-y. Far from it…
It's a win-win for all because it is very cost-effective from local authorities' point of view.'
Matthew Elliott, of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said: 'These loans are an insult to many hard-working families who are struggling to get together the money to put down a deposit on a property.Well, yes. But then just how many travellers pay tax anyway, Matthew?
'Singling out this one community for loans is grossly unfair, particularly if some do not pay their share in council tax and violate planning regulations. Local authorities need to be extremely careful about targeting resources at particular communities, as doing so can lead to understandable resentment.
'They should focus on cutting taxes so all taxpayers have a better chance to save and invest.'
It is understood the scheme will be available to any nomadic group.Hmmm, really..? I can see possibilities there!
But it isn’t just travellers. Over at House of Dumb, a commenter pointed to this utterly incredible project:
Repeat offenders in Tameside are being kept out of prison by a project which gives them somewhere to live.The article bleats on and on about what a ‘saving’ this is for the taxpayer, as if money were the only object, and people should be happy to be held to ransom as long as the ransom can be said to be ‘value for money’.
The Spotlight project targets the group most likely to re-offend - those who have been in prison less than a year.
Offering them free accommodation on their release from jail has seen an 86% drop in re-offending.
And I bet these houses are nowhere near anyone involved in administering this project…
The government has no statutory obligation to support people who are over 21 on their release if they have been in prison for less than a year.Because, of course, if you can only keep out of trouble if the taxpayer agrees to hand you the keys to a free house, that isn’t a failure, Enda, is it?
But Enda Ross, Integrated Offender Management Co-ordinator in Tameside said she believed that the Spotlight project will help "to reverse the cycle of failure which many offenders fall into."
"In hard times, it is clear that we need to do things differently and, on the evidence to hand so far, this approach will lead to real reductions in reoffending and massive savings to the public purse.Courage..? To spend other people’s money on the undeserving?
Adding: "The approach does take courage as it is essentially reinvesting in the causes of crime."
I’d have thought you’d be used to that now, Enda. It isn’t like you ever suffer any consequences as a result of doing it, is it? So I fail to see where courage is required.
I’m no longer surprised by people who don’t work and live crime-based lives. I’m just surprised the rest of us don’t…