Hampshire County Council to cut £320,000 from adult social care budget

FURTHER cuts to the council’s social care budget could end up doing more financial harm than good.

Wednesday, 25th May 2022, 11:10 am

At a Hampshire County Council select committee meeting today (May 24) initial approval was given to cuts of £320,000 from social care grants.

This money is currently given to charities working on tackling loneliness and social isolation among elderly residents.

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Hampshire County Council. Picture: David George

The fear now is that if these charities cannot provide the service, more people will enter the health and social care system, costing the county council more money that is being saved.

MHA Communities is one of the services supported by the county council, which gets elderly people out in groups and offers one-to-one support.

Scheme manager Anna Miles branded the cuts as ‘short-sighted’.

She said: ‘We understand the need to make savings across the board, but I believe services like ours justify the continuation of funding.

‘We help to keep people active and out of the health and social care system. No savings made outweigh the benefits of these services.’

Opposing Liberal Democrat spokesman for health and social care, Councillor David Harrison, said: ‘What is sometimes regarded as a saving can become the complete opposite of that.

‘I believe we are making a huge mistake. Do we really want to compound the social care problem by having more people seeking help at an earlier stage?’

Independent member for Whitehill, Bordon and Lindford, Cllr Andy Tree, added: ‘I do understand the huge challenge that comes with making savings, but I find it more morally challenging when this has such a significant impact.’

Suggestions were made about delaying the cuts by - but council officers warned against this, citing inflationary concerns.

Graham Allen, director of adults’ health and care, said: ‘Delaying might seem like an attractive option, but in future we will need to secure larger savings than we currently need to.

‘It’s far more efficient to deliver savings early. We have £100m to deliver in delayed savings programmes.

‘Delaying it further will increase the risk to the county council, and the amount of future savings required.’

After two hours of debate the proposals were agreed by the select committee. A final decision will be made by the executive member for adults’ health and care, Cllr Liz Fairhurst, next month.