Harder times could be ahead for vulnerable in Portsmouth

Leone Hill

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PENSIONERS and vulnerable adults face a fresh blow under budget proposals put forward by Portsmouth City Council.

The authority is seeking to slash its £117,000 a year subsidy to a dial-a-ride service which picks up residents who find it difficult to get a bus.

It means those who use it would have to find other means of getting about in the city.

It’s one of the ways the Tory administration thinks would help reduce overall costs of £13.1m next year.

Cllr John Ferrett, Labour group leader, who contributed towards the budget, said the service isn’t used enough so savings have to be found.

‘It costs us a huge amount to run it,’ he said.

‘Clearly, we are trying to find alternative ways of providing for that service.’

As reported, health and social care is facing the biggest cuts next year, worth £5.4m.

Other parts of the portfolio being cut include the women’s refuge service, which will have £57,000 less a year than it did before. As a result, the council would provide support to victims of domestic abuse in times of crisis at a ‘reduced level’.

A review will be carried out of vulnerable adult clients living in residential care and how more can be done to help them live independently.

It’s a move that could net the council £200,000 a year.

Up to £300,000 could be clawed back reducing the level of support for the elderly and those with disabilities who need two carers.

And the reassessment of expensive homecare could bring back £100,000 a year over three years. Scrapping footcare services would save £45,000 a year.

Cllr Frank Jonas, cabinet member for health and social care, said: ‘It’s about changing the way we look after people, but we will still be looking after them. Not everyone wants to live in a home, there are some who have been in there so long they have never had a choice.

‘We will be offering lots of different options, but it’s not to say everyone has to take them.

‘It’s just on the table.’