No guarantee over vulnerable people cash, says leading Tory

County Hall, the HQ of Worcestershire County Council

County Hall, the HQ of Worcestershire County Council

First published in Local
Last updated
Droitwich Advertiser: Tom Edwards by , Political Reporter

GROUPS which help vulnerable people across Worcestershire have been fired a warning that there is no guarantee they will get "transition" money before massive cuts arrive.

Worcestershire County Council is coming under big pressure to do a u-turn on scrapping £8.5 million from its Supporting People funding.

The cash goes towards helping the homeless, call alarms for the elderly and disabled, training for young people, and support in areas like domestic abuse, debt and substance abuse.

Councillor Marcus Hart, the cabinet member for health and well-being, is being pressured to offer some transition money rather than chop it in April.

But he says given the financial pressures the authority is under he could offer no promises.

It comes after bodies like Festival Housing said the council is looking to "chop and hope" to balance the books.

Cllr Hart said: "That is certainly not our intention, I don't want to 'chop and hope' and it isn't what I want to do as a politician.

"We're in a slightly odd period where the consultation over this has finished and we are getting around to the decision process.

"The two words that came out of the consultation the most was 'transition' and 'pace', but I can't give any guarantees what any transitional arrangements might be.

"When we make our decision we will of course consider it carefully."

The county council spends £15 million every year on its Supporting People budget, but wants to slash it 60 per cent.

It is part of plans to shed £103 million by 2018, largely due to unprecedented cuts in Government funding and major demographic pressures.

The likes of Worcester Community Housing, the Citizens Advice Bureau and scores of voluntary bodies will lose out if the cut is finalised, and all are asking for a stay of execution.

It has also been opposed by rival politicians, who still insist the council should look elsewhere for savings.

Councillor Chris Bloore, from the Labour group, said: "We are effectively asking these people who get valuable services due to this money to go it alone."

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