Haringey budget cuts: ‘Small victory’ for care campaigners as final draft unveiled
PUBLISHED: 13:10 09 February 2015 | UPDATED: 13:31 12 February 2015
Haringey Council is set to shelve plans to cut funding for care packages that help thousands of vulnerable adults, following feedback from a public consultation.
"I’m really pleased for all the families who have put up a good fight for the care packages, I’m very grateful on their behalf.
But they’re still closing the day centres. More than 100 people will be completely bereft without them."
But campaigners branded the decision a “small victory” against a backdrop of wide-ranging cuts to adult care services; the £5.7 million saving pales in comparison to around £68million-worth of cutbacks, which were rubber-stamped by Haringey’s cabinet on Tuesday. Final approval will take place at the end of the month.
It also did little to dampen the criticism from disability and care groups, who protested outside the cabinet meeting.
The care packages help almost 5,000 Haringey residents to live more independently, by letting them take charge of their own care arrangements – covering costs of services such as respite care, care worker support, transport and leisure activities.
The decision to save adult care packages from the axe follows feedback from the council’s public consultation, which saw more than 1,000 people make submissions and many more attend consultation events.
But despite the U-turn, around 200 protesters, including families of people with autism, gathered outside the Civic Centre with placards and banners. Campaigners accused the council of “abandoning” vulnerable residents with radical proposals which still include closing three out of four day centres for people with learning disabilities and autism.
Campaigner Sue Hessel, who holds regular coffee mornings for carers, said: “It is a small victory in the context of £30million of cuts to adult social care.
“I’m really pleased for all the families who have put up a good fight for the care packages, I’m very grateful on their behalf.
“But they’re still closing the day centres and those have been a great comfort to people for many years, people who have built up good friendship groups.
"Residents spoke loud and clear about their concerns that the budget cuts would impact on the most vulnerable.
Maintaining our investment in care packages is the single most important way we can support vulnerable adults to live independent lives."
“They don’t get care packages, they just go to a centre. More than 100 people will be completely bereft without their day centres.”
Haringey will have seen its funding from government cut from around £400m in 2010 to just £210m in 2018, and council bosses said it could no longer afford to provide the services.
Council leader Claire Kober said: “Government cuts mean we have to save £70million in the next three years, on top of more than £100million already saved.
“Adult social care accounts for a significant proportion of our annual budget, and is an area where we are seeing rising demand at a time of reducing resources. It is simply not possible for us to continue to provide all the services we currently do, in the manner that we traditionally have.
“Following feedback from the community we’ve already changed our proposals to protect funding for care packages. But as we’ve made clear since we started consulting on our budget proposals last year, there are no quick-fixes or easy decisions that would enable us to make that level of savings without affecting some services.”