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Hampshire County Council social care cuts plan slammed as 'huge mistake'



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FURTHER cuts to Hampshire County Council’s social care budget could end up doing more financial harm than good, opponents have warned.

At a select committee meeting initial approval was given to cuts of £320,000 from social care grants, writes David George of the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

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

Initial approval was given to cuts of £320,000 from social care grants
Initial approval was given to cuts of £320,000 from social care grants

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

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

Scheme manager Anna Miles branded the cuts as "short-sighted" saying: "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."

Liberal Democrat Cllr David Harrison, opposition spokesperson for health and social care, 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?"

Cllr David Harrison
Cllr David Harrison

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 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 cabinet member for adults’ health and care, Cllr Liz Fairhurst.



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