Cuts each year to the Revenue Support Grant given to all councils by the Government, together with a cap of 2% (unless a referendum is taken) on Council Tax income, has made it necessary for councils to make efficiencies in every service they provide.
A saving of over seven million pounds will be achieved by converting a substantial number of independent sector residential care homes for people with learning disabilities into a more modern supported living accommodation over the next four years.
A report to County Council tells us the Care Act 2014 gives councils responsibility to promote greater choice and control for people over how their support is provided. It tells us that the project links to the corporate objectives and that people will thrive by having opportunities to maximise their potential and live full lives, prosper by improving the standard of accommodation, be healthy and safe by giving them opportunities to live independently and to take part with independence afforded to people in their own tenancies with appropriate care and support.
Of the 106 care properties serving 550 care home residents, 41 properties could be affected. It notes that not all new tenancies will be suitable for every person currently living in these buildings and that a number of accommodating moves will be required for people with learning difficulties to achieve the right fit for every one (how impersonal is this kind of wording).
The four year programme costing £1.65 million will provide savings in the 1st year £1m in year two £2m and £7m thereafter.
This all sounds very caring on paper, but I have very many concerns for the future of the people affected. People with learning disabilities do not like change and make friendship in these homes. They help one another. Displacing some will affect their mental wellbeing. I also remember the Conservatives' care in the community act which left many people with mental health problems without support, and contributed to the problems we have today. Also how wardens in sheltered accommodation have been drastically reduced over the years. The Labour Group at County put a motion to look further into what effect these changes could make and to ask for consultations to be held. This motion was defeated and the scheme is to go ahead as planned.