Your front page headline ‘The unkindest cuts’ last week is a call for action from residents in East Sussex to protest against the plans to slash £40m pounds from the adult social care budget.
These cuts will affect the most vulnerable in our community and I urge readers to express their concerns by supporting the on-line petition at: http://epetition.eastsussex.public-i.tv/epetition_core/community/petition/3343
The council concedes in its consultation (page 17) that:
“We know the proposed savings would have a significant impact on people who use services.
There will also be some people who use several of the services, so are at risk of having a lot of support removed at one time. It is also likely that by removing these preventative support services, more people will become eligible for statutory services (services we are required by law to provide to people who have eligible needs).”
This does not make sense economically or morally.
If the cuts mean more people accessing those services the council must provide, then the consequence will either be the need for more funding to support statutory services, and in which case there will be little or no savings to the budget or these safety net statutory services will be overwhelmed and will not be able to cope with the increased needs of those who were previously supported by preventative measures.
It the council goes ahead with these measures it accepts that the health and standard of living of people affected will deteriorate significantly to such an extent that the council will need to intervene by law.
Care to the elderly is already deteriorating under the conservatives and the Council’s cuts will make matters much worse.
Whether or not it makes economic sense to cut public expenditure at the pace central government has decided, it is clear that the approach of conservatives both centrally and in local government is to place the burden on poor working families and the elderly and vulnerable.
The council has a duty to properly assess the effect of its actions particularly on the welfare of its constituents and should publish the following risk assessments it must sensibly have carried out.
This should include:
Risk assessment of the number of people affected, the nature of the resulting deterioration, the effect on quality of life and longevity and the number of deaths expected as a result.
Risk assessment of the increased need for care homes due to its cuts in supporting independent care and how any increase will be funded.
Risk assessment of the effect of its budget cuts on the number of people requiring the services of the local NHS and obtain a report from the NHS as to whether it is able to cope with the increase demand, particularly as many of the patients are likely to be elderly with complex problems or patients with mental illness requiring specialist care. Risk assessment of the effect of its budget cuts to drug and alcohol prevention services on local crime and obtain a report from the police on how it will cope given its own current budget restraints.
I hope that readers will contact their local councillors, respond to the East Sussex County Council consultation and sign the petition (see link above).
Let’s support the groups which represent the voluntary sector and oppose these draconian measures.
Bexhill and Battle Labour Party
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