'At risk' children and elderly set to suffer as town hall cuts bite

Child protection and care for the elderly will be threatened by the savage squeeze on town hall funding, council chiefs warned yesterday.

They forecast that up to 100,000 jobs would be scrapped by local authorities struggling to cope with a 28 per cent reduction to their budgets over the next four years.

Other services council chiefs believe are under threat include libraries, museums, swimming pools, leisure centres, street cleaning and road repairs. They are also calling to be allowed to raise more money by raising fees for large planning applications and the renewal of licenses for pubs and clubs.

Baroness Eaton, the chairman of the Local Government Association (LGA), said: "These cuts will hurt. We know this means there will be fewer libraries, more potholes going unrepaired, parks shutting earlier and youth clubs closing."

The LGA sounded the alarm over the impact on children considered to be at risk because the cash allocated for children's services is being reduced by 12 per cent.

The expense of child protection work is rising by 10 per cent a year, it said, following the death of "Baby P" (Peter Connolly) in Haringey in 2007.

Councils are facing the cost of more children being taken into care and more court hearings to determine their future. Stephen Jones, the LGA's financial director, said: "This will make it a challenge for local authorities to fund services such as child protection."

A survey by the Association of Directors of Children's Services found that the number of children referred to social workersbecaue of suspected abuse or neglect jumped by more than 50 per cent in the past three years.

Hilton Dawson, chief executive of the British Association of Social Workers, said: "28 per cent cuts across four years will be difficult. But it's about the priority local government is prepared to give – child protection services must be the utter priority."

The LGA also fears a £4bn black hole opening in funding for adult social services, including residential care and home visits for the elderly.

George Osborne, the Chancellor, set aside an extra £2bn for adult social care in the spending review. But council leaders say the cost of looking after a rapidly ageing population will rise by £6bn by 2014-15, with another 370,000 adults requiring care.

Dame Margaret told a meeting of council leaders yesterday that an estimated one in ten of the one million posts in local government would be scrapped. "Some jobs will go in natural wastage, not filling vacancies and voluntary redundancy. But there will be job losses, where real people dedicated in their profession won't be there any more," she said.

The Government insisted last night that frontline services could be protected by councils cutting waste, curbing top pay, sharing services between authorities, improving procurement and being more open about spending.

Grant Shapps, the Local Government Minister, said: "This was a tough but fair settlement. We are giving councils more control over their budgets so they can protect frontline services.

"However in order to achieve this they must cut out the waste and crazy non-jobs and join forces to procure to benefit from economies of scale."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

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

Tradewind Recruitment: Phase Co-ordinator for Foundation and Key Stage 1

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: Phase Co-ordinator for Foundation and Key S...

Tradewind Recruitment: SEN Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: SEN Teacher We have a fantastic special n...

Tradewind Recruitment: History Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is an 11-18 all ability co-educat...

Tradewind Recruitment: Year 6 Teacher

£100 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Year 6 Teacher Birmingham Jan 2015...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee