Catalogue of cuts

Scots social work chiefs warn of budget crisisl Oxfordshire
Council has followed Cambridgeshire in voting to set a budget above
the government-set capping limit of £332 million.

The Labour group on the hung council favours going £9.8
million above the limit, while the Liberal Democrats recommend an
extra £6.5 million. A budget-setting meeting was being held as
Community Care went to press.

* Gloucestershire social services department will have to cut
£2 million as the council set a budget at its cap level.
Options for cutbacks and increased charges will be finalised next

* Essex social services will have to make about £4 million
worth of cuts, despite carrying through a £500,000 underspend
from the current year.

* In Wiltshire, an underspend of £1.3 million accumulated
over three years will be added to a 2.3 per cent increase for the
coming year’s social services budget.Social work leaders from
Scotland’s new councils have launched a co-ordinated campaign to
combat the impending crisis in social work budgets.

The initiative was given the go-ahead at a meeting of social
work chairpersons and directors organised by Brian Cavanagh, social
work chairperson of the new Edinburgh council.

Cavanagh said councils would be urged to share information, work
together and sign a ‘social work charter’ setting out key
objectives to ensure social welfare remains at the centre of the
political agenda.

‘We were dismayed that the local authority settlement showed a
significant reduction in social work expenditure and most
authorities are talking about an 8 per cent cut in their social
work budgets,’ he said.

‘We believe that will have horrendous consequences, with large
areas of service not being provided and significant closures and

Meanwhile, shadow Scottish secretary George Robertson is to
convene a summit meeting later this month after a request from the
Association of Directors of Social Work.

Robertson said social work departments faced ‘massive cuts’ as a
result of this year’s settlement.

‘The purpose of this crisis summit is to assess the full scale
of the problem and look at how we might possibly tackle it,’ he

Welcoming the move, ADSW president Peter Bates said: ‘We believe
we are going to see the closure of elderly people’s homes, services
for children, reductions in community care funding and increased
charges for many social work services.

‘Social work is yet again being set up to be blamed. Councils
have been put in this position by government.’

The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations has warned of a
‘massacre of jobs and services’ because of government cuts.

Assistant director Stephen Maxwell said cuts in voluntary sector
funding could destroy between 1,000 and 3,000 jobs throughout

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