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Local government funding cut in CSR
Wednesday 20 October 2010
Cuts to local government funding put social care services at risk
Chancellor George Osborne today announced a 7.1% annual cut in local council budgets over the next four years in the Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR). Over the four years, this will be over a quarter of their funding.
He also said that the government will remove ring-fencing of local government grants, which means that local authorities will no longer be obliged to protect funding for specific areas. Core grants for people with a learning disability, including the Learning Disability Development Fund, the Carers Grant and Supporting People will not be protected.
"Today's spending review confirms that the war on cuts has become a reality," says Mencap's chief executive Mark Goldring. "The severe 7.1% year on year reduction in funding to local councils and removing ring-fencing to local government grants will inevitably mean significant pressures put on care budgets. These savings cannot be made by efficiencies and they will impact on services and care for those with disabilities. With an ageing population and growing numbers of people with disabilities, social care needs more money not less."
Although the Chancellor promised an extra £2 billion for social care, Mencap believes that this will not be enough to secure the social care services that people with a learning disability need. "The extra money transferred to the social care budget is a drop in the ocean compared to annual care costs and will have a limited impact on protecting the most vulnerable," said Mark Goldring.
Reacting to the cuts, Mencap staff member Ismail Kaji, who has a learning disability, said: "My question would be: where is the £2 billion going to? They mentioned elderly people when I saw it on TV but it is not only elderly people who need support. People with physical and profound disabilities might need 24 hour care or have problems with communication that stop them getting the care they need."
Changes to benefits
George Osborne also announced changes to the welfare system, including time limiting Employment Support Allowance to one year for some people, and ending the payment of the mobility component of Disability Living Allowance to claimants in residential care.
"We are concerned about the impact of this policy," said David Congdon, Mencap's head of campaigns and policy. "The mobility component of DLA can help to ensure that people with a learning disability living in residential care get the individualised support they need to access the community. For example, people with mobility difficulties may use the benefit to pay for adapted taxis to go to activities like arts classes or go food shopping.
"If this benefit is removed, it is crucial that this does not result in people with a learning disability finding it harder to access meaningful activities. An unintended consequence could be a step back from choice and control."
Find out more about Mencap's campaign on cuts
Join in the debate on cuts on Mencap's new Talk Learning Disability website