Blaenau Gwent home carers stage protest over proposed cuts

Home care staff from Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council have staged a protest outside council offices at proposals to cut back the services.

Around 50 staff members gathered outside the council headquarters in anger at plans to outsource the remaining 25% of home care that its Social Services department controls.

Staff criticised the council’s indecision as their future still remains uncertain. The 140-strong workforce fear their jobs are at risk and say the elderly will be left vulnerable by the service cutback.

A petition with more than 10,000 signatures was presented to Blaenau Gwent Mayor Mostyn Lewis on the steps of the Civic Centre in Ebbw Vale to cheers from the home care staff.

GMB Union regional officer Gareth Morgan said: “The one thing we want is to keep the service out of the hands of the private sector.

“Hawking out the care of the elderly to the lowest bidder is abhorrent.”

The council must find £10m budget savings for the 2014/2015 financial year. Outsourcing the home care provision could save up to £750,000.

A statement released by Blaenau Gwent council earlier this week said: “We recognise that we will have to outsource the service, but also that it will not be possible to do this in a single move if we are to ensure continuity of care for our service users.

“In order to achieve savings in the next financial year, we are planning a phased approach, where 50% of the service is outsourced. The remaining savings required from this department will be found from restructuring which will impact in the main on non front-line services.”