10:08am Wednesday 6th June 2012
By Josh Layton
SERVICES for elderly and disabled people in Swindon have been hard hit by Government cuts, according to a national study.
The town has suffered a 7.35 per cent reduction in older people’s care and support, information gathered by the Demos think-tank shows.
The amount available to care for adults has dropped by 6.58 per cent, with a 1.43 per cent decrease for children and families.
Swindon has increased the cost of a community meal by 15p and is currently outsourcing its adult social care services to a new social enterprise, Demos said.
The think-tank, which sent Freedom of Information Act requests to all councils across the country, says smaller budgets do not inevitably lead to cuts on front-line services, higher charges or poorer quality services.
The group said: “There are ways – some innovative, some everyday and commonsense – to mitigate the impact of the cuts on the front-line.”
The borough’s coping level is listed as ‘okay’ and its cut level as ‘medium’.
Services which have been affected by Government austerity measures include Swindon Carers Centre.
In April it announced that it was transferring its relief care service to Bluebird Care due to funding cuts.
The relief care team provides a domiciliary care service to around 40 clients, as well as a sitting service for a further 26 clients.
However, the Carers Centre has faced significant funding cuts over the past two years, and a spokesman said that it needed to focus its attention on its core role of helping family carers to ensure the financial viability of the organisation for the future.
Under the terms of the transfer, Bluebird Care will pick up the care packages for all clients, including the Alzheimer’s Sitting Service clients, and will retain all of the care staff currently employed by the Carers Centre.
The council plans to slash its budget by £14m over the next financial year through abolishing posts, changing the way services are delivered, reducing funding to some organisations and generating more income.
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