Stoke-on-Trent council making adult social care cuts

Stoke-on-Trent City Council is making one of the largest cuts to social care in the West Midlands region, a BBC survey suggests.

The Council Spending: Making it Clear survey suggests the council will spend an estimated 12.98% less in 2011/12 compared to 2010/11.

Of the councils in England that responded to the survey, Stoke is making the seventh highest reduction.

The council said the survey was not comprehensive.

Out of 350 councils, 268 replied to questions about their planned expenditure for this financial year.

Care homes closed

Of those that replied, spending on adult social care in the Midlands and the North will fall by 4.667% this financial year – from £3.628bn to £3.459bn.

However in the South spending on adult social care will go up by 2.668%, from £3.261bn to £3.335.

Stoke-on-Trent Council said it had closed two “ageing and costly-to-maintain” residential care homes and would review children centres but said it would not close any.

Its budget in 2010/11 was £100.9m and is £87.8m in 2011/12.

Other services are also affected by budget cuts, the council said.

Mobile library services will only be available for one day rather than five and funding has also been withdrawn from two museums – Ford Green Hall and Etruria Industrial Museum.

‘More for less’

There are plans for trusts to take on the running of the facilities, the council said.

A spokesman said: “We are trialling pressure donations at the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery to generate money needed to meet a budget shortfall.

“If the donations do not meet the shortfall, a £2.50 charge will be introduced from July for adults, with £2 for concessions; admission will be free for children.”

In February, the council approved plans to cut 710 jobs and reduce funding for swimming pools, libraries and care homes.

Tony Oakman, the council’s director of adult and neighbourhood services, said he felt the research was not thorough enough.

“It is important to note that the survey isn’t comprehensive, and that not all councils in the region have been questioned.

“We were forced to make significant cuts, but have worked hard to ensure that we have limited the effect on service users as much as possible.

“We have been working that much harder to do more for less, and been innovative in the way we run services.”

The Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy, which jointly carried out the survey with the BBC, said it was satisfied that the survey method and checking process was sound and consistent.

It said all estimates might be subject to change as councils sought to deliver the best possible services.