Cllr Sue Woodward

Planned changes to care and support service funding will have serious consequences for vulnerable residents, a Burntwood councillor has warned.

Staffordshire County Council is facing a £15million shortfall and has proposed changes to the way a number of health services across the region.

The funding gap has come as money has not been received from the NHS via the Better Care Fund.

Cllr Sue Woodward

But the Opposition Leader at Staffordshire County Council, Cllr Sue Woodward, believes the cuts would be a short-term fix and could end up costing taxpayers more in the long run.

The Labour councillor said: “This list of cuts, which the Conservative administration is yet again trying to push through before they’ve had proper scrutiny or consultation, will have serious consequences for our most disadvantaged residents, people with disabilities, with dementia and with care needs.

“It’s not just them though – these cuts will have negative impacts on families, particularly on family carers who provide such invaluable support, and on communities.

“They don’t add up to good financial sense either. By taking away early support and prevention services, they are racking up additional future costs to the public purse at a time when demand is already increasing.”

But Cllr Alan White, Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Health, Care and Wellbeing, said difficult decisions needed to be made: “The county council is committed to ensuring Staffordshire residents get the best support and care in their homes and in their communities and in recent years we have invested an extra £20 million into care.

“However, we are now need to take steps to protect social care after being left with a £15m shortfall from the NHS to the Better Care Fund, a national scheme aimed at shifting focus and funding into community care.

“To tackle this gap we have already introduced spending controls across the council, but due to the sheer size of the shortfall we also need to scale back further discretionary spending to some health and care services.

“We will of course continue to make a significant funding contribution to support services across the county and our priority now is to work with health partners, organisations and local communities to reshape services to help as many people as possible with the budget we now have available.”

Cllr Woodward has called in the decision for further scrutiny by county councillors. This is likely to be heard by the Corporate Review Committee on September 2.

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