Wel­fare bod­ies fear Tory cuts will hit ser­vices hard

The Jewish Chronicle - - COMMUNITY - BY SANDY RASHTY

COMMUNAL L E A D E R S h a v e ex­pressed con­cern over gov­ern­ment cuts this new year.

Fig­ure­heads from wel­fare or­gan­i­sa­tions have said that the lat­est round of pub­lic spend­ing cuts and the in­tro­duc­tion of the Na­tional Liv­ing Wage will sig­nif­i­cantly af­fect Jewish char­i­ties and their ser­vice users in 2016.

Si­mon Mor­ris, chief ex­ec­u­tive of Jewish Care, the largest communal wel­fare or­gan­i­sa­tion, said re­cent changes, in­clud­ing the NLW, which will come into force this year, posed chal­lenges.

He said: “Over the com­ing year we will be look­ing across the busi­ness to understand how we can meet this ad­di­tional cost while con­tin­u­ing to pro­vide qual­ity ser­vices to meet the grow­ing needs of the com­mu­nity.”

He added: “The Gov­ern­ment’s re­cent spend­ing re­view was an­other in­di­ca­tion of the lim­ited fund­ing avail­able for so­cial care. I hope that in 2016 we see lo­cal au­thor­i­ties take up the op­por­tu­nity, out­lined in the Com­pre­hen­sive Spend­ing Re­view, to in­crease coun­cil tax by 2 per cent to meet the costs of so­cial care. While any fund­ing must be wel­comed this in­creased levy on coun­cil tax will still leave us far short of the fund­ing re­quired to pro­vide care.”

Nor­wood chief ex­ec­u­tive Elaine Kerr saidthat­de­spite£1.4mil­lionof cut­sto­cen­tral costs in 2014, the char­ity was op­er­at­ing with a £1 mil­lion bud­get deficit. She said she an­tic­i­pated “asim­i­lar,if not­greater deficit” this year. She said: “Lo­cal au­thor­i­ties have sus­tained sig­nif­i­cant fund­ing cuts for our ser­vices, and our ex­pec­ta­tion is that fur­ther re­duc­tions in statu­tory spend­ing will re­sult in an even greater need for vol­un­tary in­come. We will be pro­tect­ing our core ser­vices, but this will in­evitably lead to re­duc­tions in pe­riph­eral ser­vice pro­vi­sion.”

Karen Phillips, chief ex­ec­u­tive of the Fed in Manch­ester, said the new NLW posed a “ma­jor chal­lenge” — es­ti­mat­ing that it would in­crease the char­ity’s deficit by £80,000. She expects next year’s deficit to be around £1.7 mil­lion.

She ex­plained: “The im­pact of this will be far-reach­ing. With NHS and state-funded res­i­dents al­ready hugely un­der­funded, the com­bined ef­fect will be po­ten­tially cat­a­strophic. We are ex­plor­ing ways to mit­i­gate the in­crease. We hope that our statu­tory fun­ders will be cog­nisant of the im­pact on us, and other providers, and will ad­just fees ac­cord­ingly.”

How­ever, Lisa Steele, chief ex­ec­u­tive of Chai Can­cer Care in Hen­don, north­west Lon­don, which sup­ports more than 2,300 peo­ple, said that the char­ity would need to step up fundrais­ing.

She said: “As an or­gan­i­sa­tion that re­ceives no statu­tory fund­ing, Chai is not sus­cep­ti­ble to gov­ern­ment cuts. We rely on the com­mu­nity to fund the £2.3 mil­lion re­quired to pro­vide Chai’s ser­vices.”

‘Changes which come into force this year pose chal­lenges’

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