Addicts face loss of treatment centre cash

THE GOVERNMENT has dropped its commitment to protect the money that pays for the residential costs of addicts in drug and alcohol treatment centres.

It is feared that the decision will jeopardise the future of more than 100 addiction projects when local authorities take over the hostel costs next year.

In April 1993 as part of the community care reforms, set out in the NHS and Community Care Act 1990, money from the social security budget will move to local authorities. Addiction organisations have estimated that about pounds 20m a year is paid by social security departments to addicts attending treatment centres to pay for their residential costs.

A separate grant of pounds 2.1m in the current year for drug and alcohol treatments will continue to be protected, it is understood.

Although no sums of money were committed, two years ago Kenneth Clarke, as Secretary of State for Health, said that the money would be earmarked to ensure that local authority social services departments did not use it for other services.

Eric Appleby, director of Alcohol Concern, said yesterday: 'This is just what is now likely to happen.' Addiction treatment was in peril because it was not a vote- winner in local politics and because there was no statutory requirement on local authorities to provide it, he said.

A further complication is that addiction services are nationwide. This means that people seeking treatment are regularly referred to units outside their own local authority. Mr Appleby said: 'If they maintain the pounds 2.1m grant for drug and alcohol projects as specific money, I think they can get away with it. Local authorities are already saying that the total money to be transferred to them is pounds 150m too little. Drug and alcohol projects are going to be a long way down the list of priorities.'

Under the new arrangements local authorities in England will receive pounds 539m next year to provide care for vulnerable groups including the elderly and disabled. Of this, pounds 399m will transfer from the social security budget. Earlier this month Virginia Bottomley, Secretary of State for Health, agreed to protect or 'ring-fence' community care money.

A spokesman for the Department of Health confirmed yesterday that transferred money for addiction hostel costs would not be specifically earmarked. Instead it would sink into a pool of money set aside for community care.

He said: 'Mr Clarke made his announcement when it was not the intention of the Government to 'ring fence' a total amount for community care. We believe it is better to leave it to local authorities' discretion as to what services they will provide.'

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Engineer / Software Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software Engineer / Softw...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Recruitment Consultant / Account Manager - Surrey / SW London

£40000 per annum + realistic targets: Ashdown Group: A thriving recruitment co...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before