City care budget faces £15m cut

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SHEFFIELD’S care budget will be reduced by £15 million next year as part of the city council’s spending cuts.

Chris Jenkinson, organiser for the union Unison, claimed the cut would mean 235 frontline care jobs will go among nurses, care visitors and support workers. The council did not confirm if there would be redundancies.

Around 12,000 elderly and disabled people in Sheffield rely on help from the council’s care service.

The Labour administration has announced the care budget will be cut by four per cent – equivalent to eight per cent when inflation and cost increases are taken into account. The council said the reduction is lower than in other areas, and pledged not to change the criteria for who is eligible for care.

Coun Mary Lea, cabinet member for health, care and independent living, said: “We know how important care services are for older people and people of all ages in the city. That is why we do not want to change the criteria to assess who gets care. Sheffield Council is determined to do all it can, within the resources it has, to protect services.”

The care budget next year will be £190m.

Jacqui Milner, 68, secretary of Sheffield Pensioners’ Action Group, said: “It’s heartbreaking they have to do this. It always seems it’s the most vulnerable in society that pay. The care system is in crisis.”

The council is proposing £5m of efficiency savings by merging teams and roles and cutting management, administration and contract management costs. Around £6m will come from cutting back on the use of care homes or intensive care support.

The council’s last two elderly care services – Sevenfields resource centre in Wisewood and Hazelhurst in Jordanthorpe – could be closed.