Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Vulnerable Hit the Hardest

The Chancellor's spending cuts could hit the most vulnerable the hardest

By Ben Aulakh

Spending on care services for vulnerable adults and children could be cut by more than half of all local authorities as part of the latest raft of government austerity measures.

A survey carried out by The Guardian newspaper showed that more than half of local authorities say they will have to cut social care spending.

The move is expected to hit those with learning difficulties and disabilities the hardest.

Of 81 local authorities surveyed by the newspaper more than 50 per cent said they would be cutting the money spent on children’s services, while a fifth said they would be transferring responsibility for youth centres in their areas.

West Berkshire council said it will have to cut spending on adult social care by nearly 10 percent between now and  middle of 2014.

The deep spending cuts being forced on local authorities are part of Chancellor George Osborne’s plan to cut welfare spending by £10 billion a year by 2016/17.

The latest round of welfare cuts announced by the Chancellor George Osborne in the recent budget come on top of £5 billion local authorities across England and Wales have slashed from their budgets since the current coalition government came to power in 2010.

Councils have also had axe to 230,000 public sector jobs, and are warning that the any further cuts to their budgets could force them to decommission entire council services such as youth clubs, libraries, and leisure facilities.

Many councils have also begun to tighten the eligibility criteria for some services such as meals and wheels services for the elderly, though so far spending on older people and child protection has escaped the axe.

Nick Forbes the Leader of Newcastle City Council said the slashing of welfare spending was putting the people of the city “through hell.”

He told The Guardian, “The future cuts fill me with horror, we’ve been through hell already in Newcastle, the impact of another three years of cuts will bring local government to its knees.”

The Leader of Birmingham City Council Sir Albert Bore said the local authority is being forced to cut spending by more than £600 million by 2016/17.

He told The Guardian that the slashing of welfare spending signalled “the end of local government as we know it.”

Photo Courtesy of Mholland via Wikimedia Commons

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