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Norfolk County Council cut ‘could set back community based social care by at least 10 years’ charity warns

PUBLISHED: 12:29 31 December 2013 | UPDATED: 13:00 31 December 2013

Councillors are set to discuss proposed cuts to adult social services and cultural services.

Councillors are set to discuss proposed cuts to adult social services and cultural services.

Archant

Controversial proposed council cuts, one of which a charity warned could set back community based social care in Norfolk by at least 10 years, will be considered by councillors for the first time next week.

Norfolk County Council has proposed £140m worth of cuts and savings over the next three years and asked people for views through its Putting People First consultation.

On Tuesday, the first of those proposals - in adult social services and cultural services - will be considered by councillors on the community services overview and scrutiny panel.

Of the adult social services proposals - aimed at saving almost £60m over three years - 530 different responses were received, including more than 480 individual respondents and more than 50 organisations. A petition signed by more than 500 people was also received.

The most responded-to proposal was one to cut funding for wellbeing activities for people receiving support through a personal budget - to save £12m.

The majority of the responses argued against the proposal while a minority expressed support.

One organisation which strongly objected to that proposal was the charity BUILD, which works with adults and young people with sensory, physical and learning disabilities across Norfolk.

The charity’s chairman David Lundean and chief executive James Kearns said, while they recognised the challenges the council faced, some of the proposals would not only have a “significant impact on the quality of life” for the vulnerable people it supports, but could also threaten the financial viability of the charity.

On the proposed cut to personal budgets, the pair warned: “Of all the proposals in the consultation, this is the one which we believe has the potential to have the greatest impact on vulnerable adults, and in the case of adults with learning disabilities, sensory or physical disabilities, could set back community based social care, in Norfolk, by at least 10 years.”

Sue Whitaker, the council’s cabinet member for adult social services, said cuts in government funding meant services had to be hit. But she said: “The responses we’ve received have certainly given me some food for thought and I’m sure they will inform the opinions of all our members.”

The panel will make recommendations to the county council’s cabinet. Cabinet’s final savings proposals will go before a meeting of the full council on Monday, February 17, where the 2014/15 council budget is due to be agreed.

• Do you have a story about one of our councils? Call reporter Dan Grimmer on 01603 772375 or email dan.grimmer@archant.co.uk

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