Labour Councillors challenged Conservative claims that £36.8m of proposed budget cuts would represent savings to the Suffolk public. The proposals were being put forward by the Conservative administration on Suffolk County Council at the Scrutiny Committee meeting today.
The Labour Group argued that cuts of £2m to the Supporting People budget, of £6.4m to the purchasing of Care Home provision, £1.5m cuts to Children’s Centres, of £300,000 to voluntary organisations and cuts to the Youth Offending Service will all lead to increased costs to the county in the future.
Labour Leader Cllr Sandy Martin said “The two most expensive places for people to reside are in hospital and in prison and these hugely damaging cuts will increase the need for both.
“By cutting the Supporting People budget and slashing the purchasing of home care provision we are in real danger of putting the lives of those people who rely on these services at serious risk. The most vulnerable older people in Suffolk will be hurt most by these cuts. This is simply unacceptable.”
Labour Councillors also argued that cutting services for the young such as Children’s Centres (£1.5m) would hit less prosperous families, and the proposed reduction in the number of staff providing youth services would increase costs in the long run to the youth offending service.
Cllr Martin added “We are immensely concerned that these cuts are aimed at the old and the young. We know that children and young people’s life chances are greatly improved when they have access to the support they need. It seems this administration wants to take those chances away.
“There are some ‘good’ savings in here, where money can be genuinely saved by doing things better. But the vast majority of these punitive cuts will only harm the people of Suffolk in the long term.”
Councillor Sandy Martin (Lab): Labour Group Leader
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Notes to Editors
Papers for the Scrutiny Committee can be found at http://committeeminutes.suffolkcc.gov.uk/meeting.aspx?d=21/Nov/2013&c=Scrutiny Committee