SLASH AND BURN IN SALFORD
Details are starting to emerge about the scale of the proposed cuts by Salford City Council over the next three years to produce a budget that kisses the £40million+ cuts to Salford imposed by the ConDem Government.
The Salford Star has seen Salford Council's so-called `Savings Tracker' for two departments – Adult Social Care and Neighbourhoods – and some of the most vulnerable people in the city are going to see some of the harshest cuts.
Over the next three years Salford Council is proposing to slash £9,423,000 off its Adult Social Care budget which will hit the city's senior citizens, the disabled, people with mental health problems and the carers and staff who look after them…
Late last year, Salford's Adult Social Services department was given an `excellent' rating by the Care Quality Commission (see here). It won this by "providing a broad range of services and information which helped people to stay safe in their own homes" and "There were good arrangements in place to help people who use services and their carers prevent loss of independence and to maintain their quality of life." All this now appears to be under threat with the proposals detailed in the `Savings Tracker' which include…
Intensive Home Support Service – cut by £170,000
Day Services – cut by £876,000
Occupational Therapy Assessment Service – cut by £300,000
Telecare and Telehealth – cut by £750,000
Transport – cut by £800,000
Direct support to carers and cared for – cut by £222,000
Repairs and Maintenance of property – cut by £186,000
Adult Social Services users also face £50,000 in increased charges, £873,000 worth of staff reductions, and a `redesign of Adult Social Care Commissioning' to save £3.5million. Voluntary Sector commissioning also faces over £357,000 of cuts.
Meanwhile, over at Salford's Neighbourhoods department, £1,021,000 worth of cuts are proposed over the next three years including, ironically, £215,000 to Debt Advice and Welfare Rights. Grants to Voluntary Sector Organisations will be slashed by £193,000, Devolved Budgets to Community Committees by £196,000 and Neighbourhood Management will be hit by £392,000 of cuts.
Elsewhere, Connexions, which helps the city's young people get work and learning, faces a 46.5% cut in its budget which will see the numbers of staff slashed by half. Connexions workers will be handing out a `Save Connexions' leaflet to Salford's Labour Group of councillors today asking `Do you want…NEET [Not in Employment or Training] to increase? Increased drop out rates at college, through lack of specialist advice and guidance? Young people to lose their first point of call when in crisis?"
There are also strong rumours circulating Salford that Ordsall and Cadishead libraries are to close.
"The Government expects Salford Council to cut it's spending by between £40 million and £47 million in the next 12 months" says Steven North, secretary of Salford Against The Cuts
"We believe such cuts will lead to the loss of vital public services and job losses in both the public and private sector" he adds "Salford Council needs to stand up for the people of this city, and we will be using these lobbies to make that point and to ask the Council what it intends to do to fight these cuts."
When we interviewed Salford Council Leader, John Merry, about the coming cuts (see here for full interview) he said that cutting back on things that the Salford Star had often criticised the Council for, like marketing and sponsoring events, was "a drop in the ocean in comparison to what is actually going to happen at this next stage…And there are things like social care – how do we wrestle with the dilemma of social care?"
Judging by these proposals, we now know…
*** Please note that the amounts of cuts have been altered from the original article - see comments below.
SALFORD AGAINST THE CUTS DEMOS, MEETINGS AND LOBBIES
TODAY Monday17th January 5:30pm Civic Centre, Swinton – Lobby of Salford's Labour Group
Wednesday 19th January 8:30am Civic Centre, Swinton – Lobby of Salford Council Meeting
Wednesday 19th January noon Civic Centre, Swinton – Demonstration Saturday 22nd January 10:30am-5pm Friends Meeting House, Mount St, Manchester – Greater Manchester Against The Cuts Conference
Tuesday 25th January 7pm Salford Arts Theatre – Salford Against The Cuts Public Meeting
Salford Against The Cuts is supported by Salford Trades Council, Salford City UNISON, UNITE the Union, the GMB and others.
Contact: email@example.com and on Facebook
For details of Salford Against The Cuts founding meeting see here.