Cuts Watch #401: Sure Start, libraries, social care threatened by local government cuts
Most Councils plan cuts in Sure Start and library services and one in seven plan to make it harder to get free adult social care a new survey has revealed. The Local Government Association’s 2011 “Budget Survey”, which is sent out to Directors of Finance in English councils found that 83 per cent were planning to make savings in their library services and 63 per cent in Sure Start (mainly by concentrating services on vulnerable families or neighbourhoods, effectively ending the vision of Sure Start as a service whose high standards would be guaranteed by the fact the middle classes also use it.) One in five expect services for young people to be hit harder than the average.
In a particularly worrying sign of the times, 14 per cent plan to make changes to the eligibility band at which services are offered to people after their needs have been assessed. (People who need adult care services are assessed as having low, moderate, subtstantial or critical needs and local authorities can decide at which level to offer services – it is unlikely any will be making their policy more generous in current circumstances.)
Pay and conditions for council staff are likely to be hit as well: 43 per cent are making “downwards amendments” to their redundancy or severance payments or plan to do so in the next two years. 59 per cent are making or plan pay freezes – and 22 per cent are carrying out or plan pay cuts (“other than senior officers or middle management.”)