St Leonards elderly social care ‘threatened’ by ESCC cuts

Colin Fitzgerald says the cuts would be devastating for Beaufort Court residents
Colin Fitzgerald says the cuts would be devastating for Beaufort Court residents

Elderly housing association residents’ support in St Leonards is threatened by the county council’s proposed social care cuts, according to Labour councillors.

East Sussex County Council (ESCC) is looking to shave £40million from its social care budget by 2019 and is currently consulting on where the cuts should be.

Labour borough and county councillors are concerned about the threat posed to the 100 residents at Beaufort Court.

Hastings Borough Councillor Colin Fitzgerald said: “Residents of Beaufort Court and their families are extremely concerned to have learnt of these proposed cuts from the county council.

“At a recent meeting at Beaufort Court I was handed a petition with over 120 signatures against these cuts.

“They tell me that they depend upon and cherish the care from support workers employed there.”

ESCC cabinet agreed its 2016/17 budget along with most of the proposed social care cuts at a meeting on January 26.

On site support services for sheltered housing schemes, like Beaufort Court, are set to be cut.

But the final budget decision will be made by the full council on Tuesday, February 9.

“The loss of this support will have a devastating impact on the lives of residents,” Mr Fitzgerald said.

“One resident informed me for example that they recently had received an erroneous debt collection bill for over £250 in outstanding utility charges.

“Understandably, this person was in great distress.

“If it were not for the care and support provided by the two workers on site, it is possible that he would have been pressured into paying this money.

“Instead the workers spoke with the agency concerned and got the debt cancelled. This kind of support is vital and Beaufort Court residents rely upon it.”

Social care lead of the opposition Labour Group at ESCC Trevor Webb said: “These cuts are completely unnecessary, especially as the central government has just allowed county councils to raise their social care levy.

“I and my fellow Labour councillors in Silverhill: Colin Fitzgerald, John Hodges and Nigel Sinden; are therefore calling on the county council to amend their budget before they vote for it on February 9.

“We join residents in demanding the comprehensive scrapping of these proposed cuts which threaten some of Hastings’ most vulnerable and needy.

“These are people who have worked hard all their lives.

“All they are asking for is dignity and respect in retirement and support to maintain their independence.”

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