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From The Socialist newspaper, 8 December 2010

Council cuts put most vulnerable at risk


Build the fightback against all cuts

Kettled students protesting against massive fees rise and the abolition of the EMA, photo Suzanne Beishon

Kettled students protesting against massive fees rise and the abolition of the EMA, photo Suzanne Beishon   (Click to enlarge)

The Tory/Liberal-led Birmingham council is preparing to trim 300 million from its budget by 2014 by cutting 10,000 jobs and devastating services. Amongst the cuts is its chilling proposal to set eligibility criteria for social care at 'super-critical'. This will become the norm for disabled and older people across England and Wales unless the Con-Dem cuts are stopped.

A Unison member

Adult social care services are provided under a 'Fair Access to Care Services' policy.

This identifies the four social services eligibility bands - low, moderate, substantial and critical.

Birmingham council is aiming to restrict formal council-funded care to people with critical personal care needs, excluding those with substantial needs and those with critical needs who do not need help with personal care.

In layman's terms, the only social services that will be funded are those that ensure disabled people with the most complex needs are fed, bathed, dressed and toileted, and kept safe from serious harm, neglect or abuse.

This move will go much further than the already draconian critical eligibility criteria of Northumberland, West Berkshire and Wokingham councils.

For now, these councils meet all critical needs, including help with involvement in work or adult education and vital social relationships or family responsibilities.

Those disabled people and family carers living in Birmingham who will no longer be eligible for help will be expected to turn to charities and the voluntary sector for information, advice, advocacy and support.

This will not be much comfort for those who need a lot of physical help to get dressed, stay clean and tidy their homes, or those who are being neglected or abused but do not qualify for support.

Neither will it help the thousands of children under 16 in Birmingham who already provide care and support to parents and siblings, or the tens of thousands of family carers.

In keeping with Cameron's Big Society, Birmingham council is emphasising the role of volunteers in the provision of some council services.

But the thousands of social care workers who struggled to work every day during the severe weather have a right to ask if volunteers would do the same thing even if a vulnerable person was relying upon them.

When Birmingham council goes 'super-critical' it will be the logical conclusion of the underfunding of social services by successive Tory and New Labour governments since the 1980s.

The Fair Access to Care Services policy was introduced by New Labour to ensure social services provision was consistent across England and Wales.

It turns out that the only consistency being achieved is the decimation of essential social services for hundreds of thousands of working class people.

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In The Socialist 8 December 2010:

Fighting cuts and fees

This is just the start!

The fight goes on against fees and cuts

Resisting police intimidation

Youth Fight for Education

Youth Fight for Education launch

Youth Fight for Jobs conference report

Socialist Students conference

30 November: student day of action on cuts and fees

Con-Dems can be defeated: Welsh Assembly backs down on EMA and fees

Organising a college walkout

Anti-cuts campaign

Cuts cost lives

Tories' secret job cuts plan exposed

'We need fighting unions to halt cuts'

Nottingham march against billionaire tax dodgers

National Shop Stewards Network

All-Britain Anti-Cuts Campaign to be launched

Building the anti-cuts movement

Scotland: Unison votes for fighting cuts strategy

TUSC calls election campaign conference

Keep the post public campaign

Keep the Post Public campaign

Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition

Housing under attack: Ripping off the roof over our heads

Socialist Party NHS campaign

Medirest health workers need help to fight multinational

Campaign stops health bosses' closure plan

Don't let profit become the bottom line in care


Battle for Barking

Hull: racist BNP demo stopped

International socialist news and analysis

Protesters demand halt to opencast coal mining in Bangladesh

Egypt's regime perpetrates a massive election fraud

Warmonger Rajapaksa forced to abandon his Oxford Union speech

Kazakhstan - a repressive and corrupt state


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