Slash in funding for care services

The Foyer, Newhaven. SUS-151029-000015008
The Foyer, Newhaven. SUS-151029-000015008
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Services for vulnerable people and those with learning disabilities are set to be slashed as part of a major cost-cutting measure to try and save millions of pounds.

In a consultation paper released by East Sussex County Council this week, it was announced savings of £70 million and £90 million will have to be made by March 2019, including cuts of £40 million to adult social care spending.

One hundred per cent of Supporting People funding will be removed from 93 sheltered housing schemes across East Sussex - making savings of more than £1.2 million but affecting 3,445 households.

A number of services within the Lewes District are facing having its funding removed completely, including Downlands and Fiveways in Peacehaven. Newhaven Foyer, a support service for young people aged 16-24 experiencing homelessness, will see a 50 per cent slash in its funding.

Accommodation schemes for young mothers and their babies, including SAHA, will have a 24 per cent cut in funding, while a 20 per cent reduction will be made to services to support women fleeing domestic violence.

David Elkin, the county council’s deputy leader, said: “Over the next four years, there will be much less money for services in East Sussex, even though demand for them is rising. This is mainly because funding from Central Government is shrinking.

“It means making difficult decisions about which adult social care services we continue to invest in. We know many people who use adult social care services will be affected by the savings we need to make. It will be a difficult time for people who use services, their carers and family, everyone working in the department and all our partner organisations, providers and the voluntary sector.

“We want people’s views on how we are proposing to make the savings.”

The eight-week consultation will run from Friday, October 23 to Friday, December 18 and people can give their views online at www.eastsussex.gov.uk/ascbudget, by emailing adultsocialcare@eastsussex.gov.uk or by calling 01273 481 565. Forms are also available to download from the website and sent via post.

A number of consultation drop-in events will be held across East Sussex, including at Lewes Town Hall’s assembly room on Wednesday, November 4 from 12pm to 2pm.

The council’s Cabinet discussed the initial savings proposals at its meeting on October 13. Final savings proposals for the whole council will be considered by the Cabinet on January 26, 2016 and by all elected councillors at the meeting on February 9, 2016.

East Sussex County Council has to make savings of between £70 million and £90 million by March 2019. This is on top of £78 million already saved since 2010.

The council will still invest around £350 million a year in services for East Sussex, but even this means making a saving of at least 20 per cent.

The savings equate to £300 a year less to spend for each man, woman and child in East Sussex - that’s £600 a year less per household than at the start of the decade.

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