Friday, 21 January 2011

Bid To Save Vulnerable From Cuts

By Ben Aulakh

Senior managers at Nottingham City Council have been holding a series of intensive budget meetings to prevent savage cuts from affecting the most vulnerable in the city.

The Coalition government has cut the council’s grant by £60 million, a 33 per cent reduction in real terms over the next four years.

Deputy Leader Councillor Graham Chapman said, “We have done all we can to try to support the most vulnerable, but unfortunately even they in some cases will feel the potentially devastating effects of these Government-imposed cuts.”

The Working Neighbourhoods Fund, which helps people in deprived areas get back into work, has had to be scrapped; the Supporting People scheme for the elderly and disabled has also been drastically scaled back.  

The council may also be forced to increase charges for day care and homecare services, as well as putting up rates for Park & Ride schemes.

A press release from the council said that the cuts will ‘substantially undermine the our ability to help fund voluntary sector organisations, who provide services for people at risk.’

Around 370 people could also be set to lose their jobs next year; a measure which it’s hoped will save around £11m.

Cllr Chapman added, “Nottingham City Council has been hit harder than most by these Government cuts, despite serving some of the most disadvantaged areas of the country.

“We've done what we can to protect frontline services and the vulnerable, but after the savings we have already made, there's been little room for manoeuvre.”

The spending cuts come on top of £31m of savings the local authority has already made over the past two years.

Managers now expect they will need to make a further £100m of cost reductions over the next three years to cope with budget shortfall.

Other cost saving measures to be introduced include amalgamating fostering and adoption services, changing the city's library services, and reallocating road maintenance budgets. 

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