Fears for homeless and vulnerable people as councillors debate multi-million pound funding cuts
PUBLISHED: 06:00 23 January 2017 | UPDATED: 10:00 23 January 2017
Councillors will today debate cutting more than £5m of funding for services that support vulnerable people such as the homeless.
The proposals, which go before Norfolk County Council’s adult social care committee this morning, would see £5.5m cut over the next two years from the council’s Building Resilient Lives budget –prompting warnings from charity chiefs.
And the council’s own report admitted the impact of the cuts could negatively affect older and disabled people, Gypsies and Travellers and carers.
It also warned that removing the services through cutting funding could mean that “more people go into crisis or become homeless and require other services, such as adult social care, children’s services, housing services, and health services”.
Derek Player, chief executive of St Martins Housing Trust – which provides food and accommodation for the homeless – said: “It’s not a matter of ‘could’ – it’s ‘would’. These cuts are being made in the exactly that part of the social care system where I think they should be expanding services because it keeps people in their own homes and prevents them going into more expensive parts of the system, such as inpatient care.
“I’m sympathetic to the council’s problems but I’m concerned about the impact it will have throughout the county,” he added.
He said providers would have their budgets reduced – meaning fewer places for people to access accommodation.
Graham Creelman, chairman of the Norfolk Older People’s Strategic Partnership, said: “These services help some of the most vulnerable people in our communities, particularly older people, to stay living independently for longer.
“To enable independent living is a element of both the council’s own strategic direction and the emerging joint strategy of health and social care. It would be a tragedy if these services are cut.”
And Jon Clemo, chief executive of Community Action Norfolk, warned the proposals are “significantly harmful to the people of Norfolk, particularly some of our most vulnerable residents”.
At today’s public meeting (10am), committee members will decide whether or not to recommend this budget to the full county council next month.
Why are the cuts being proposed?
Norfolk County Council has experienced a £160.9m reduction in funding from the government, while cost pressures on many of the
council’s children’s and adult social care services have risen.
In the adult social care committee report for this morning’s meeting, it is said the extra demands on those two services went
up by £13.8m last year alone.
This increase came from circumstances outside the council’s control, such as inflation, changes in Norfolk’s population profile, and legislative changes by the government – according to the report.
That means the county needs to save as much money as it can.
If the cuts go ahead then the county council will be spending more than £4.5m per year on housing-related services for vulnerable
But Derek Player of St Martins Housing Trust said this is a drop from the £18m which was made available to the council from the government in 2009.
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