Fears voiced over health and so­cial care fund­ing

The Oban Times - - News - LOUISE GLEN lglen@oban­times.co.uk

A FOR­MER leader of Ar­gyll and Bute coun­cil claims coun­cil­lors will un­der-fund health and so­cial care bud­gets when they slash £21.3 mil­lion from the au­thor­ity’s spend­ing over three years.

But a coun­cil spokes­woman said no de­ci­sions had been made on cut­ting the coun­cil bud­get.

James Robb, a He­lens­burgh coun­cil­lor, told the Oban Times that it was only un­der ques­tion­ing at a coun­cil meet­ing last week that ‘coun­cil of­fi­cers were forced to re­veal the Tory LibDem coali­tion ad­min­is­tra­tion is stick­ing to its plan to cut around 20 per cent from the so­cial ser­vices bud­get’.

The coun­cil con­firmed sav­ings would now be spread over three years but the ef­fect was the same. So the out­look bud­get gap over the next three years is £21.3m (2016-17, £7.8m; 2017-18, £7.9m; and 201819, £ 5.6m).

Mr Robb, for­mer leader of the lo­cal au­thor­ity, said: ‘The cuts to so­cial work over that pe­riod are more than £10mil­lion so equate to al­most half the cuts.

‘This is an area which has the high­est de­pen­dence on low paid work­ers and the na­tional min­i­mum wage is set to rise from £ 6.50 to £9, a 38 per cent in­crease.

‘Of course, all the prob­lems as­so­ci­ated with this will trans­fer to the new in­te­grated health and so­cial care part­ner­ship and NHS bud­gets are al­ready strained with aus­ter­ity and in­creas­ing de­mand.’

He con­tin­ued: ‘This is a cyn­i­cal move by the Tory LibDem coali­tion ad­min­is­tra­tion to sneak­ily slash so­cial work bud­gets and trans­fer all the re­spon­si­bil­ity and prob­lems to the new in­te­grated health and so­cial care board next April.

‘The mes­sage be­ing sent out is clear, we don’t care about our old and vul­ner­a­ble, who are poor and rely on ex­ist­ing coun­cil ser­vices. Even those with sav­ings find those soon de­pleted with the costs of care and find them­selves re­liant on public sec­tor ser­vices and sup­port that won’t have the fund­ing to de­liver what is re­quired.’

Re­spond­ing to ques­tions on whether or not there was a threat to the fund­ing of the newly-formed in­te­gra­tion board, an Ar­gyll and Bute spokes­woman said: ‘No de­ci­sions have been taken re­gard­ing so­cial work ex­pen­di­ture for 2016/ 7 and be­yond.’

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.