Questions over housing cuts

Councillor Patricia Bradwell, executive member for adult care, health and children's services with governors, staff and students at a turf-cutting ceremony to mark the start of construction of the new sixth form block at The Deepings School, Deeping St James.  Photo by David Lowndes.
Councillor Patricia Bradwell, executive member for adult care, health and children's services with governors, staff and students at a turf-cutting ceremony to mark the start of construction of the new sixth form block at The Deepings School, Deeping St James. Photo by David Lowndes.

The director of a charity for vulnerable people in South Holland has raised fears over almost £2 million worth of cuts in housing services across Lincolnshire.

County councillors are to vote next month on plans to cut its housing support services budget from £6.7 million to £4.9 million in 2015/16.

The savings are part of a bid by Lincolnshire County Council to plug a £65 million gap in its budget for the next financial year.

But the charity director, who asked not to be named, claimed its own work could be hit by the cuts as various groups of vulnerable people with different needs are housed in the same council accommmodation.

The director said: “We are very concerned for the future of our organisation and what the county council’s plans might mean for the people we’ve been supporting for the past eight years.

“We are providing a value-for-money service, supporting about 50 people at any one time, and we have been given outstanding ratings by council inspectors.”

Council cabinet members approved a budget for the next financial year that would see savings of around £30 million to be put to the full council on February 20.

Just over £1 million worth of cuts to housing support services, part of the children’s services and public health budget, are to be achieved by the “redesign and re-procurement” of services, as well as a shake-up of senior management and staffing.

Coun Patricia Bradwell, executive member for adult care, health and children’s services, said: “While district councils have a responsibility for homeless people who are over 18, we do provide housing support services for 16-17 year olds, care leavers and other vulnerable people.

“These aren’t statutory services we have to provide but, unlike some other authorities who no longer provide these services, we continue to support them as we know how valued they are.

“We have been careful to mitigate the impact on those who use the services and the re-modelled version will focus on provision across all districts, rather than concentrated solely in areas like Lincoln and Boston.

“Some areas that have had no provision, like South Holland, will now have services under the new contracts so that people can be nearer their friends and families.

“This is in addition to the responsibilities for homelessness that apply to the district councils.”