ConDem Cuts Savage Birmingham City Council
Local Government has been given one of the highest rates of cutbacks in the Chancellor’s Comprehensive Spending Review, a 28% cut over 4 years or at least a third when allowing for inflation.
To make matters worse, the Government has front-loaded the cuts into the first year, with around half the overall cut in 2011/2. Birmingham is currently consulting on its budget for next year and is proposing £177m of cuts plus an additional £40m to allow for ‘budgetary pressures’, such as the aging population. In the consultation papers and the latest Section 188 notice to accompany it, broad proposals for around £100m of these cuts are made with an expected 2,500 full time equivalent jobs to be cut out. All Directorates are affected.
Adult Care Goes Super-Critical
The biggest cut proposal is also the cruellest. Adults and Communities are planning to reduce the threshold for receiving care support from Substantial Need to a new super-strict criteria of Critical Personal Care. The Social Services nationally define need in four standard categories, Low, Moderate, Substantial and Critical.
Currently services are provided for people in the top two categories. Now Adults and Communities intend to restrict services to just part of the highest, the Critical category for those with personal care needs.
Substantial care is defined as there is, or will be,
• only partial choice and control over the immediate environment; and/or
• abuse or neglect has occurred or will occur; and/or
• there is, or will be, an inability to carry out the majority of personal care or domestic routines; and/or
• involvement in many aspects of work, education or learning cannot or will not be sustained; and/or
• the majority of social support systems and relationships cannot or will not be sustained; and/or
• the majority of family and other social roles and responsibilities cannot or will not be undertaken.
People currently or in the future meeting this criteria will not receive services. Even those with critical need who require social but not personal care will be excluded.
Thousands to Be Privatised
4,000 School meals staff, cleaners, music, outdoor, Health Education and Schools Advisory services staff are proposed to be floated off into a ‘social enterprise’ which will sell its services back to the schools and council.
1,000 Adult Social Workers and other Assessment/Care Planning workers are also to be formed into another ‘social enterprise’ by 2013. Hundreds could move into a Leisure Trust and hundreds more working in Building Cleaning, Urban Design, Civic Catering and Building Consultancy are proposed to be transferred into a ‘Wholly Owned Company’.
150 back office staff in the Council Tax section are to be transferred to Service Birmingham.
UNISON opposes the privatisation of services and is concerned for job security in these private co-operatives. Jobs can be cut instantaneously if the council reduces its purchasing from these companies. Any redundancy costs would have to be borne by the ‘social enterprises’ themselves solely. Who at this time of public service cutbacks would dream of setting up new businesses dependent on contracts from the council ?
Social Enterprises are a face saving way for the Council to privatise services. This is an ideological drive to privatise, not to save money.
Can We Stop These Cuts ?
By standing together, and with the help of the public and service users, Yes We Can. The first step in our Battle for Birmingham’s public services is to PROTEST as loudly and publicly as we can. That’s why we are planning our own Birmingham Demonstration Against The Cuts on Saturday 26th February and we are all joining the TUC National Demonstration for the Alternative – Jobs, Growth and Justice on Saturday 26 March 2011.
26 February Birmingham & 26th March TUC London Demonstrations