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Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760

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Services under threat from funding cuts

April 02 2010
What will go as local authorities struggle with the fall-out from the recession?

Homeless services are under threat as local authorities struggle with the fall-out from the recession.

A recent survey carried out by the BBC found that one in 10 council workers - out of a total workforce of three million - could lose their jobs due to cut-backs, with seven out of 10 local authorities planning to cut spending by between five and 20 per cent.

Trade unions have condemned the threatened cuts and blamed the Conservatives, who currently control most councils. The GMB said direct services, including homeless hostels, were already being cut, but the new warnings would "totally devastate" services to communities.

National officer Brian Strutton said: "Conservative-run local government has already started cutting services by closing community centres and homeless hostels, selling off care homes for the elderly and cutting bin collections. They simply do not care about providing services to the less well off and more vulnerable members of society."

Cuts to homeless services are already being seen across the country. In Coventry, 1,000 families were turned down for help in the past year by the City Council after being made homeless during the recession. Yet a recent cost-cutting shakeup of homelessness services has seen the loss of two key services provided by charity Coventry Cyrenians that helped nearly 3,000 people a year. Its emergency accommodation service has lost its council funding. So, too, has its outreach service supporting those facing eviction; it suffered a £750,000 cut in its budget of £2.2m.

Mike Fowler, Cyrenians' chief executive, said: "Without our emergency accommodation service and support and advice, rough sleeping is likely to rise."

In Birmingham, £24m worth of cuts are being made to services including the Citizen's Advice Bureau and Birmingham Young Homeless.

But the Local Government Association (LGA) said councils had been hit by a "perfect storm" and had little choice but to shed jobs.

 

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