24th May 2011
Ministers have said there is ”no excuse” for Southampton City Council’s devastating planned cuts in services for vulnerable pensioners.
Southampton’s Tory Council is planning on cutting almost £3.5 million from services to support vulnerable adults and pensioners next year, including cuts to help for pensioners trying to live independently and stay out of high dependency care; further reductions in Day Care services; and increasing care charges by a so far unspecified amount.
The Conservative Council has long claimed they have no choice over such a move because of its financial settlement from central government.
But speaking to the Telegraph, Paul Burstow, the care services minister, said:
“There is no excuse for local authorities to be cutting social care. Our decision to make up to £2billion extra a year available to councils means they are receiving more money from the Government than ever before for social care.
“If local councils are cutting front-line services then local people should hold them to account for that decision.”
Alan Whitehead, Labour MP for Southampton Test, said:
“Not even the Conservatives’ own government can justify the utterly savage and disproportionate cuts this Council is planning to inflict on some of the most vulnerable people in our city.
“This Tory Council now stands more isolated than ever in its plans to once again make pensioners and vulnerable adults shoulder the burden for their catastrophic management of our city over the last 4 years.
“I never thought I would say this, but the Tories here need to listen to Government Ministers and come up with a budget that protects vulnerable pensioners, rather than putting them first in the line for cuts.”
John Denham, Labour MP for Southampton Itchen, said:
“Southampton Tories should come clean and explain why they are cutting services for older people when their government says there is no need to. We will be writing to Royston Smith personally to ask for an explanation and to ask whether he agrees with the Government’s position or not.”
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