Labour under fire over Harrow Council’s adult social care spending

THE Labour leadership of Harrow Council have come under fire for pulling £2.1m out of the budget for adult social care.

The authority was promised a pot of money from NHS Harrow, formerly Harrow PCT, to spend on vulnerable adults but deliberately did not factor it into spending plans in case the cash fell through.

A lower sum of £2.1m has now been handed over and channelled into adult social care but the council has pulled the same amount out of the department and moved it to a general transformation fund.

Councillor Susan Hall, leader of the Conservative Group, said: “Labour are a disgrace; they should hang their heads in shame.

“They’ve made an absolutely despicable decision and have completely lost the moral authority to ever again claim they speak for the vulnerable, the needy and hard-working volunteers.”

Voluntary groups have been struggling with hefty cuts in their council grants, with many axing projects, making staff redundant and battling just to stay open.

Charities supporting vulnerable adults are among those hit.

The fund where the £2.1m is moving to is available for any department to bid for funding to run a project aimed at transformation.

Councillor Bill Stephenson, leader of the council, said had the money been guaranteed at the time the budget was drawn up less money would have been cut from other departments.

He said: “We have now got this money, other departments had to make savings to ensure we had a balanced budget and we are now putting it into this pot.”

He added: “As far as I’m concerned adult social care is provided for in the budget.”

He said he believes other councils around London are doing the same, but the council has been unable to name any.