West Sussex adult social care cuts approved

Thousands of vulnerable residents face cuts to their social care after a controversial proposal was approved by West Sussex County Council.

The authority said it would no longer provide social care to adults with moderate needs.

Instead, it will focus on those with substantial or critical needs in a bid to save £6.5m over the next two years.

Charities and the public sector union, Unison, have said the move would cut support to vulnerable people.

Peter Catchpole, the cabinet member for adult services, said the council needed to save £79m over three years.

He said: “I am fully aware of the strength of feeling towards the proposed changes.
Serious concerns

“But the decision has to be seen against the backdrop of the county council receiving one of the lowest grant settlements from the government for the past nine years.

“The financial position is the worst we have faced.”

The Conservative-controlled council said the changes would bring the local authority in line with 75% of councils in England.

It said more emphasis was being placed on preventative measures.

A council select committee earlier this month warned the changes should be delayed until preventative services were commissioned and properly funded.

About 4,500 residents currently receive support for moderate levels of social care need. The council said the majority also had some substantial or critical need which would not be affected.

The decision will see the county council raise the eligibility threshold from 1 April 2011.