Older people in Norfolk will suffer from ‘unworkable’ £30m council cuts, warns charity boss

Hilary MacDonald, chief executive of Age UK Norfolk. Photo: Bill Smith

Hilary MacDonald, chief executive of Age UK Norfolk. Photo: Bill Smith - Credit: Archant � 2012

More older people will be left without crucial care and support if more than £30m of 'unworkable' cuts are made to adult social care in Norfolk, charity bosses have warned.

Where will Norfolk County Council need to make savings?

Where will Norfolk County Council need to make savings? - Credit: Archant

And calls for the government to ease its austerity programme and give councils more cash to provide services are intensifying.

Norfolk County Council says it needs to save £125m from its budget over four years, with managing director Wendy Thomson warning this will mean people will not get the same service from the council as now.

Nearly £24m needs to be saved from children's services and £31m less spent adult social care.

But Hilary MacDonald, chief executive of Age UK Norfolk said: 'The social care system in Norfolk is already under tremendous strain and further cuts of £31m from the adult social care budget are unworkable.

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'We are seeing increasing numbers of older people coming to us for help and support. We are taking on more and more complex case work, often with people who are self-funders who have been unable to access help from our statutory partners.

'The more cuts to the adult social care budget, the greater the number of older people there will be without the care and support that they need.

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'There is simply no avoiding the fact that a growing ageing population brings a requirement for more, not less, investment in health and care services.'

And today, Lord Porter, chairman of the Local Government Association (LGA), demanded that councils are at the 'front of the queue' for new funding if 'austerity is coming to an end'.

Councils face a £5.8bn funding gap by 2020, so even if they stopped filling in potholes, maintaining parks and open spaces, closed all children's centres, libraries, museums, leisure centres, turned off every street light and shut all discretionary bus routes they still would not have saved enough to plug the gap by the decade's end.

The LGA is calling for councils to be allowed to keep all business rates and for council tax referendum limits to be axed.

County council leader Cliff Jordan has been making the case to local government secretary Sajid Javid that the county would benefit from more investment.

The county council is already budgeting for a 4.9pc council tax increase for 2018/19.

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