Fifty Care Jobs To Go In Bid To Save £1.5million

Fifty jobs and at least one day care centre in either Beaminster or Lyme Regis will go in Dorset County Council’s bid to save £1.5million from its social care budget.

Steve Pitt, director of the authority’s adult and community services, said it was not a decision taken lightly and everyone was well aware of how unpopular it would be. He said: “We are in a very difficult financial position as a county council. Social care services are badly funded in Dorset, they are badly funded nationally but in Dorset we are suffering particularly.

“We invest far less than average in older people’s services and we have to save money. Of all the services that we provide in most of them there is a legal duty to provide them. Day care is not a service that has a legal basis, so it is one of the few things where, if you have to cut services, you can.

“We cannot, for example, not provide residential care for people because it is a statutory duty to make sure it is available. We know that day care centres mean a lot to people. They attend, rely and get a lot of support from them. It isn’t something we do lightly and we know it is going to cause an awful lot of pain.”

Mr Pitt said the first £500,000 savings in the coming financial year would come from a mix of closures of day care services and some resulting losses of staff. He said: “It is about cutting services. At this stage we are not able to say precisely where those changes will happen. It will affect all Dorset.”

Health care professional and Bridport Town Councillor Karl Wallace said “These are frontline resources which are important for respite care. The social services are a growing service, people are now living longer, and more people are moving into Dorset. Why doesn’t Dorset County Council fight for the £48 million which is due to social services instead of making cuts on the vulnerable. I am fighting to try and get this shortfall from government. We are bottom of the league yet we have the highest percentage of the elderly in the whole of England.”