Salford Council have been accused of “putting vulnerable people at risk” after it announced a staggering £4.7 million cut in adult support services.
The announcement will see cuts to vital services designed to support the disabled, mental health patients and the elderly.
Salford Council also admitted that a homeless centre would be forced to close its doors and critical debt and welfare advice services would also be affected.
Despite the herculean efforts of three Labour councillors who defied the city’s mayor and attempted to force the council to reconsider the plans, a scrutiny panel unanimously voted in favour of the vicious cuts.
Peter Wheeler, one of three Labour councillors who contested the decision, argued that the cutbacks would cost the council more in the long run because of the impact the decision may have on other services, including the NHS.
Cllr Wheeler was offered ‘assurances’ that the council would seek to “mitigate against the worst effects of cuts” and do the best they can for people who rely on the services.
Adult services in Salford, Greater Manchester, have already seen cuts to the tune of more than £110 million since 2010. These included raising the eligibility threshold for residents requiring care and support, as well as the closure of a local day centre.
Unison branch leader Steven North described the cuts to adult services as a “fire sale” and said that he was disappointed by the decision “but not beaten”.
He added: “Staff, service users and members of the public put forward some compelling arguments as to why more time should be given to discuss the impact of these proposals on vulnerable people”.
Mr North also criticised the scrutiny panel where “not one member” was prepared to consider delaying the move.
Mayor Ian Stevens said that the council could not avoid austerity measures being rained down on the local authority by the tory-led coalition government.
He argued that whilst the council agreed that the cuts were “unfair and would hit people in need”, the decision came after a 12-week public consultation.
The Mayor added that “the government is forcing £24.5 million cuts on the council this year – on top of £97 million already slashed from services since the last election”.
“All we can do is try our best to protect the most vulnerable”, he said.
Who is to blame for these cuts, the council or the government? Please leave your comments below.