18th Dec, 2017

Potential cuts to services affecting the homeless and disabled put on hold

Leamington Editorial 10th Oct, 2015 Updated: 28th Oct, 2016

CUTS to services which would affect the homeless and disabled have been put on hold.

A decision to nearly half the Housing Related Support Service (HRS) budget was deferred by council chiefs until next year while Warwickshire County Council completed assessments into the service.

The cuts would see funding slashed from £8.6million to £4.8million by 2018. It would affect support and housing for disadvantaged and vulnerable people, such as the homeless and those with mental health problems or learning disabilities.

The first savings of £300,000 were due to be made this year, but councillors have opted to take the money out of the council’s general reserves to cover the cost.

A report given to councillors said: “Given the uncertainties around the level of assessments required and the ability to undertake these in the timescale, the council defers the planned savings of £300,000 to be found from housing related support budgets. Instead money from general reserves will be used to balance the council’s budget.”

The cutbacks are part of the council’s One Organisational Plan, which was created earlier this year after WCC were told they had to find £92million savings by 2018.

If the money is not taken from the HRS budget it will have to be found from elsewhere in the council’s finances.

Coun Jonathan Chilvers, who works with homeless charities and was at the meeting, said: “Slashing the budget by 50 per cent for those with learning disabilities, poor mental health and hostels for the homeless will have a massive impact on those who most need it and will cost us all more in the long term.

“We must prioritise at least some extra cash for these groups. Central government are pushing local councils to within an inch of their life with their cuts. Councils cannot continue to look after people who need our help with a budget resembling half a shoestring.”

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