"it is inevitable that there will be some shortfall in targets. The 2014/15 revenue budget includes additional funding (£6.5m) to address this shortfall" Salford Council cuts budget document
This morning Salford City Council's Cabinet meets to rubber stamp proposals for £24.561million of cuts for the year 2014-15, plus £2.158million of `step up' cuts from last year, making a horrific total of £26.369million
The 74 page budget document to be presented at the Council Cabinet meeting - and only released to the public at 10pm last night – lists the full impact of the cuts on the most vulnerable people in Salford over the next few years, including…
CARE ON CALL… what the Council calls its `Community Alarm' service, providing mobile support to vulnerable people who live on their own, is to be privatised and made `self financing' with the loss of thirty jobs and people made to pay for help… "Levels of charging will be set according to the level of service being purchased by the individual" states the document.
MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORT… 18 jobs are to go in this crucial `floating' support service which gives around three hours of support a week for people with mental health issues. They only get help for six months anyway but now they won't get any.
HOMELESS AND HOUSING SUPPORT...this is going to be all but wiped out with the loss of 32 jobs. The document states: "We will cease homelessness prevention activity, the provision of supported tenancies…the furnished homes scheme, the mortgage repossession prevention scheme, the housing access and supply function and will reduce the number of Housing Advisors to a minimum." All that will be left will be "housing responsibilities which will meet only our statutory duties in terms of homelessness and housing options". For a taste of the life and death impact see previous Salford Star article – click here.
TRANSPORT FOR THE DISABLED...The "withdrawal from the direct delivery of specialist transport for people with a disability" will mean a loss of twenty jobs and new `criteria for support' which will inevitably shove disabled people onto mainstream buses.
ADULTS WITH LEARNING DIFFICULTIES...a £400,000 chop to care support for those who need it most.
YOUTH SUPPORT...this is getting a £700,000 axe in "informal and formal education programmes, group work, 1:1 casework, street work and activity based sessions in centres across the city". Instead, the service is going to have `health outcomes' and will be great for "pregnant young women under 18 years". Expect more riots.
SKILLS AND WORK...those who have a "combination of lifestyle, mental wellbeing and work and skills issues" and need help in these areas will be made to "self manage to achieve positive wellbeing changes…and improve their position in the labour market" thanks to a £326,000 cut.
WELFARE RIGHTS AND DEBT ADVICE...except for those with "complex problems" people will also be expected to sort themselves out via a Council "portal" and "other means", as a £233,000 cut looms just when people need the service most.
CHILDREN'S HOME CLOSURE...to save £500,000 the Council is proposing to close an unspecified children's home due to four beds not being used.
EARLY INTERVENTION AND PREVENTION SERVICE...a £1.6million cut and 15 job losses to "reduce to the number of Children's Centres that deliver preventative services across the city".
STARTING LIFE WELL SERVICE...a £400,000 cut, eight job losses and a "reduced offer within our statutory duties" for this anti-poverty child care service.
HELPING FAMILIES...this grant which helps `troubled families' is to be `re-clustered' with a £500,000 cut.
CONNEXIONS...already had a 60% reduction in support and now faces a further £200,000 cut which could see "an increase in the number of young people aged 16-18 who are NEET [Not in employment or training] or unknown to the local authority".
And there are more, loads more cuts, which include up to three hundred Council job posts to be axed, plus cuts to the Salford Children's Holiday Camp which could close, and Lledr Hall, plus all sorts of general cuts – for full details see previous Salford Star articles – click here and click here.
While Salford City Mayor, Ian Stewart, is merely asking for a meeting with Prime Minister David Cameron to discuss the impact of ConDem Government cuts on the city, campaigns are already underway in Salford to actually fight against them. And the campaigns against the cuts do have a good chance of success – because within the 74 page document that the Council Cabinet is to rubber stamp this morning is a Risk Assessment for the budget which includes a note on `Non-achievement of Savings'…
It states: "it is inevitable that there will be some shortfall in targets. The 2014/15 revenue budget includes additional funding (£6.5m) to address this shortfall"
It adds: "Accordingly the risk assessment has been adjusted and now is based broadly on 5% cover for low risk, 10% for medium risk and 15% for high risk"
It rates the likelihood of `Non-achievement of Savings' as a `medium to high risk', with a `minimum requirement' from reserves to meet the risk of £3million and a `desirable' amount of £3.6million.
Interpreting this in English, it appears that the Council has £6.5million as a contingency, but the likelihood is that it will spend around £3-3.6million covering cuts it cannot implement.
That's a big amount to fight for… Salford City UNISON's branch secretary Steve North initially gave his reaction to the cuts and the Mayor's meandering around Cameron… "It is clear yet again that hard-working staff and vulnerable citizens are going to suffer greatly if they are passed… The threat here is one of job losses resulting from service reductions and closures…
"If they are serious about stopping this and acting as the leaders they are supposed to be then they need to be pulling representatives from councils across the country together and organising action to genuinely challenge the Government" he added "Words are no longer enough…at this stage we cannot and will not rule out any action in opposition to these cuts..."
Staff from at least two Salford Council workplaces have already asked to be consulted on a ballot for industrial action, we understand, while people from the community affected by the cuts – mums, dads, carers and kids – are holding meetings to discuss how they can fight back…
For details of the first public meeting against cuts to special needs transport escorts - click here