Monday, 1 August 2011

Care Budgets In Turmoil As Tory Mismanagement Returns

Cambridgeshire Liberal Democrats have slammed the Conservative-run County Council for financial mismanagement of its care budget for adults, now forecast to be at least £11 million adrift.

Cambridgeshire’s troubled Adult Care department faces end-of-year deficits of £9.1M in its Older People budget and £2M in Learning Disabilities. The figures for Mental Health are not available.

The figures, announced at yesterday’s Cambridgeshire Care Partnership, are likely to result in front-line services for elderly people being cut back even more drastically in a desperate bid to balance the books by April 2012. The Conservative Council’s budget had already proposed massive cut backs for vulnerable adults as part of a package of cuts that go way beyond what was required by central government.  It now appears that these targets were not realistic.

Shadow Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care, Cllr Fiona Whelan said:

“I’m truly shocked at the scale of the projected overspends across Older People and Learning Disability Services. This issue used to come up every year. We were told the problem was sorted, but now it’s back.

“Once again there appears to be a complete inability of the Conservative Council to set a realistic budget for adult care and stick to it.

“This affects the most vulnerable people in our county. It would be an appalling consequence of a lack of decent financial control at the County Council if even more savage cuts now have to be made to the ones already planned.

Shadow Cabinet Member for Health, Cllr Geoff Heathcock said:

“I am particularly exercised at the lack on information available on the control for the mental health budget within the County Council and the distinct lack of urgency there appears to be in giving mental health clients a timely review of their care package.”