Newham facing ‘outrageous’ cuts to social care budget

Sir Robin Wales says Newham Council will have to make �70 million more savings from its budgets by 2

Sir Robin Wales says Newham Council will have to make �70 million more savings from its budgets by 2020. - Credit: Newham Council

Sir Robin Wales has attacked the government after statistics revealed a £24 million cut in the borough’s social care budget.

Newham has been forced to reduce its funding by 15 per cent since 2010, down from £161 million in real terms in 2009/10 to £136million in 2015/16, according to the latest government figures.

Fears about the borough’s old and vulnerable, who may have been hit by the cuts, have resulted in scathing criticism of the Conservative government by Mayor of Newham Sir Robin Wales.

The Labour leader said: “The government has scythed millions of pounds from councils’ funding, disproportionately targeting the areas of highest need.

“Since 2010 we have seen around £110 million cut from our central funding to support providing the services our residents depend and rely on, with social care hit as well as our other key services.

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Sir Robin said the council now faced a further £70 million being taken away from its budgets by 2020.

In stark contrast, Windsor, Maidenhead and Wokingham - which cover Theresa May’s constituency - had a budget increase of almost £10 million between them over the same five-year period.

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Elsewhere, the biggest spending wealthy area, Surrey, has seen its funding increased by a massive £94 million.

Sir Robin said: “It is outrageous and fundamentally wrong that a pensioner in Plaistow will pay more to be supported than a Mayfair millionaire.

Rehana Azam, GMB National Secretary, whose union compiled the findings prior to the budget announcement on Wednesday, said: “These outrageous figures highlight the deep divisions and inequality that exist in this country.

“The idea that the poorest people in the country have their social care funding slashed, while the wealthy get more money is sickening.”

A Department of Health spokeswoman said: “We understand the social care system is under pressure, and this government is committed to ensuring those in old age throughout the country can get affordable and dignified care.

“That’s why we have introduced landmark reforms to ensure no-one should have to sell their home to pay for care in their lifetime, and why we’re significantly increasing the amount of money local authorities have access to for social care, by up to £3.5 billion by 2020.”

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