Cuts Watch #347: Cuts target the most vulnerable
The Government claims that the spending cuts will be fair and progressive and maintain that the most vulnerable will be protected. However as we have reported many times, the cuts have been hitting the most vulnerable and they continue to do so.
The Echo reports that spending cuts proposed by Basildon Council are set to hit services for disabled people. Phil Turner, councillor responsible for resources, has confirmed that a scheme which lends disabled people as much as £10,000 to make life at home easier is likely to be targeted. The £75,000 annual budget for disability access work on council buildings is also a prime target. The disabled facilities grant system stands to lose £280,000 a year from its budget. Under the system, the cost of the work, such as the installation of shower wet rooms and stair-lifts, is paid back by residents over time, or recouped if the residents sell up within ten years. The programme will continue to receive £420,000 Government funding a year, but the council is set to stop topping this up to meet local demand.
Unite have provided details of the potential closure of B-Line in Hull, a council run training centre for disabled adults that trains and provides paid employment for blind, partially blind and other workers with disabilities. The council has said that unless the training centre can find alternative funding, the centre will close. B-Line requires funding of around £900,000 a year.
Ian Wood, Unite regional industrial officer, said:
This Liberal Democrat council is attacking the most vulnerable in society. If this provision closes it will be a massive blow to the workers who were earning and learning, being given skills to make their way in the world…….The Tory-led coalition lied when it said the cuts would not affect the frontline.
I have reported on a number of cuts to children’s services this week. To add to this growing list, Children and Young People Now report that Cambridgeshire County Council has proposed £18.1m of cuts to children’s services. Youth services and direct support for children with disabilities are among the areas likely to be hit by the cuts. The council, which has to make savings of £50.4m in 2011/12 and a further £110.2m over the next four years, is planning a “fundamental shift from universal to targeted services”. As part of this restructure, £1m will be cut from the youth services budget and a further £1m will be lost from children and young people’s disability services. Other areas facing reductions are school transport, children’s centres and cuts of £315,000 to the budget for educating looked-after children.