From the TUC

Cuts Watch #319: 400,000 at risk as councils slash Supporting People Programme

22 Nov 2010, by in Cuts Watch

Community Care reports on the National Housing Federation’s warning that about 400,000 vulnerable people could lose vital support under projected cuts by councils to their Supporting People programmes. They report that this could be the consequence of local authorities making swingeing cuts in the programme of up to 40% from 2011-15, which would lead to a rise in homelessness, crime and disorder, causing other costs to rise.

By risking an increase in homelessness and withdrawing vital home-based support for vulnerable people it is likely that demands on other local services will significantly increase,” said Catherine Brabner, south west regional manager for the NHF.

The programme, which funds housing support services for about one million people at any one time, is no longer ring-fenced and is being used by some authorities to help fund statutory social care responsibilities.

Somerset have approved a £3m cut in its Supporting People programme from April 2011, representing an 18% reduction on its £16.5m budget allocation for 2010-11. Big cuts have already been made at the Isle of Wight. And Cornwall is due to make a decision on a proposed 40% cut over three years in its “overall supporting people spending” at the end of November. Bournemouth, Swindon, North Somerset, Brighton and Hove and Surrey are also proposing reductions of 20% to 40%. Others are waiting for the final settlement before coming up with firm proposals, though it is expected they will follow suit as a result of the 26% cut in overall council funding.