Housing and Supporting People services

A number of  articles have reported on concerns that Supporting People services are being cut. Supporting People grants support vulnerable groups such as the elderly, people with mental health problems, women fleeing domestic violence, homeless people and teenage parents.

A Guardian report argues that the government “says it wants to protect services for vulnerable people and has restricted cuts to the central Supporting People funding pot to 12% over four years. But the transfer of this central funding to local authorities means it is no longer ringfenced, and some town halls, which are facing huge cuts in their own grants, have raided Supporting People allocations to protect council services they are legally obliged to provide.”

Another report in the Guardian has examined the consequences of the cuts to Supporting People budgets. It presents Nottingham City Council’s proposals to make a 26% reduction in support services for 70 vulnerable teenage parents. The council’s risk assessment has highlighted a number of risks: “children’s safeguarding issues if [Teenage Parents] placed in unsupported accomodation before ready. Failure to meet statutory duties. Negative children’s outcomes and increased referrals for social care. Increase in unplanned pregnancies.”

Community Care magazine has suggested that services face an average of 17% next year,  with some cutting councils cutting programmes by 37%. “This is well above the government’s projection that councils will see their budgets cut by 4.4% on average in 2011-12, and well below the notional cut in Supporting People funding from government of 0.9%.” The article adds: “Research has shown that the programme generates annual savings of £3.4bn for the public purse, against a cost of £1.6bn a year, by intervening early to prevent people needing more acute services.”

Nottingham City Council is reported to be seeing its funding for Supporting People drop from £22.3m to £12.3m – a fall of almost half. Bournemouth Borough Council has had to use its reserves to fill the gap following the reduction of the grant from £9m to £5m for 2011/2012.


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