Supporting People budgets slashed

Some English local authorities face cuts in their Supporting
People budgets of up to 10 per cent – four times the
efficiency saving prescribed by the government, writes
Derren Hayes

Hampshire Council is having to cut £3.2 million of its
£33.4 million Supporting People budget in 2004/05 because of
changes made earlier in the year by the government in the way the
programme was funded.

Oldham Council fears it will lose £1 million of its
£8.7 million budget, while another council in the south east,
which asked not to be named, fears it will lose around 7.5 per cent
of its £30 million plus budget.

In February, the government announced that all council’s
would need to make efficiency savings of 2.5 per cent in their
Supporting People budgets for 2004-5 and that there would be no
increase to take into account inflation in this year’s

It followed a review of the programme by the Office of the
Deputy Prime Minister which found that the £1.8 billion paid
for all the housing-related services included in it in 2003/04 was
too high.

But some authorities are saying the government has
underestimated the level of cuts they will need to make to keep
within their budgets.

Alan Hagger, Supporting People manager in Hampshire, said that
on top of cuts to meet the efficiency targets, the authority faced
£1.6 million of additional costs to run new schemes set up
with capital funding last year and increased demand. He said the
council would be forced to cap the amount it spent on clients.


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