Council rent income to pay for domestic abuse service

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INCOME from council property investments is being used to fund domestic abuse services.

Portsmouth City Council is using rent it receives from recently-purchased warehouses and a supermarket.

The cash will help fund domestic abuse services – which are currently under threat of a £180,000 cut from April 2017.

In a statement, Councillor Donna Jones, leader of the council, said: ‘We’ve been investing in property with the intention of using the money to offset savings right across the council.

‘This plan’s working and we’ve been able to set aside £50,000 per year for domestic abuse services in the future.

‘Of course, more money will be needed, and we’re investigating other sources for this, including by talking to partner agencies who might be able to provide funding.

‘We have to make savings, but we know how important these services are and we’re working hard to keep them running.’

It comes after the council decided to axe £180,000 from the early intervention project, which works with abuse victims.

The funding cut was part of £11m of savings the council needed to find due to government cuts.

Cllr Jones and community safety cabinet member Cllr Rob New have said they will ‘mitigate’ that cut and a new service may be introduced by 2017.

That means the £50,000 cash will go towards whatever the domestic abuse service will be in a year’s time.

In a statement Cllr New said: ‘We have no choice but to make savings, but we’re thinking creatively about new ways domestic abuse services could be funded in future so they continue and are even enhanced.

‘We’re also looking at new ways the services could be organised and run.’

Shonagh Dillon is from Aurora New Dawn, which has been campaigning against the cut.

She said: ‘It’s really encouraging and obviously it doesn’t mitigate the cuts entirely.

‘We still want to know what their full and strategic plan is for domestic violence.’

Two refuges serving the wider area received £93,000 funding after Portsmouth and Fareham councils bid for the cash.