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Local councillor 'laments closure of the workhouses'.

(10 Posts)
DoctorTwo Thu 10-Jul-14 15:33:04

Torbay councillor Michael Hytche wants the poor and mentally unwell to do manual work in exchange for food, clothing and accommodation. The reaction of his fellow councillors was 'stunned silence', apparently.

Link to Indy, sorry.

FishWithABicycle Fri 11-Jul-14 07:42:27


maybe he's just too thick to realise what the death rates were in the workhouses, and thought they must be nice jolly places where mainly well-scrubbed healthy-looking scamps sing "food glorious food" all day long.

I thought apologies were only necessary for linking to the Daily Fail? I've never seen an apology for an Indy link before.

YouAreMyRain Fri 11-Jul-14 07:48:28

Is he UKIP and the workhouse is for gay people by any chance?

ParsingFlatly Fri 11-Jul-14 07:53:47

The poor and mentally unwell are required to do manual work in exchange for food, clothing and accommodation. What do you think workfare is? Workfare and other "work-related activities" have been made mandatory for some people receiving disability benefits.

What's more, Universal Credit combines food/clothing income benefits with housing benefits, and can therefore sanction rent at the same time as sanctioning income benefits.

Part of the proposal for UC (not sure if it's made it through), is that people whom even ATOS deems too sick to work will be given targets of how much to earn a week, and their UC cut by that amount regardless of whether they actually earn it.

At least workhouses actually provided the food and shelter; this system will leave people without enough to pay for either.

figgypuddings Fri 11-Jul-14 08:04:01

By all means re open workhouses for lazy councillor fools like Michael Hytche, lazy MPs and the mostly asleep House of lords.

AuntieStella Fri 11-Jul-14 08:10:56

No, he's not UKIP, and only on MN (AFAIG) is any connexion being made to sexuality.

The local paper has a much fuller account.

The exact words he said in public were: "Since the workhouses have been closed down, what has been put in their place? As far as I can see, nothing has been."

After the meeting, he was asked to explain the comment and he said:

"It is absurd to suggest I was advocating bringing back the workhouses and not for one minute am I suggesting that. My words have been taken out of context

"The remark was meant to say people were looked after by their communities better back then. Local areas used to look after their own, but now, if you put people into the community to be looked after, you have to take what the community gives back, which is not always a lot. People nowadays can be treated worse as the system cannot cope with everyone."

I don't know what was said in the exchanges immediately precedding his comment. But his comment was intended to be "care in the community is often shit" (ie underfunded, erratic and unsafe) then I'd agree with him.

ParsingFlatly Fri 11-Jul-14 08:22:59

It's still a very peculiar comment.

The benefits system is what was put in the place of workhouses. Does he not know this?

(It's actually the expansion of what was known as "outdoor relief" - the adequacy has varied over the years.)

If he's talking about residential and inpatient care for the mentally ill, as opposed to care in the community, why is he referring to mental hospitals as workhouses?

I agree that he may be trying to say "care in the community is often shit", but it's still quite odd.

AuntieStella Fri 11-Jul-14 08:29:23

He was talking in a meeting about local mental health provision. I think this is part of why (for once) the 'out of context' bit might be valid.

And of course he was talking in a meeting, not reading a prepared script. I don't know the exact history of when workhouses existed and any overlap with asylums, but I'm pretty sure that those with MH conditions could end up in either.

DoctorTwo Fri 11-Jul-14 10:40:36

I know FishWith that people apologise for linking to the DM, which is why I do so for linking either the Graun or Indy.

As for having no provision for the poor and mentally unwell post the workhouse, well, we did. We had social housing and psychiatric hospitals and well paid manufacturing jobs. Then the neocons took over, exported our industry, shut the psychiatric units and sold our stuff to foreign governments. Now somebody from that political party is questioning that policy. Unbelievable.

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 11-Jul-14 10:46:19

I think the real headline is 'bonkers old duffer secures place on council'. When you look at the quality of candidates we get offered in local elections, it's amazing anything ever gets agreed. They all appear to be either busy-bodies, egoists, pocket-liners or characters out of a Fast Show sketch. And that's leaving out the UKIP ones who are in a league of their own.

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