Overspend forces Ealing to cut care

Care services in Ealing are to be cut to reduce an estimated
£13m council overspend.

More than £5m of the projected budget deficit at the London
borough is due to social services overspend, caused by an
above-inflation rise in nursing home fees, the expected impact of
the delayed discharge fines and the increased number of asylum
seekers the council is caring for.

A council spokesperson said social services would face a “limited
reduction in services and increases in some charges”.

The council has already implemented moves “to tighten up the use of
agency staff and scrutinise the need for permanent job vacancies to
ensure that the books will be balanced by March 2004”, the
spokesperson added.

“We have been faced with an unprecedented surge in demand for
community care, housing benefits and unaccompanied asylum seekers,”
he said.

“None of these developments could have been forecast.”

The council was meeting to finalise the cuts as Community
went to press.

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