Councillor David Gibson
HOMELESS pregnant women are at the greatest risk of being adversely affected by proposed council cuts.
Planned savings of £13 million in next year’s Brighton and Hove City Council budget, announced on Wednesday, include proposals to cut two frontline support staff dealing with those in temporary accommodation and at risk of ending up on the streets.
Of the 24 policy proposals analysed in the council’s risk assessment of the plans, this is the only one to merit a maximum “5” rating for potential impact on groups. No other policy has been scored higher than three.
The proposal would save a combined salary expenditure of £36,000.
But the equality impact assessment warns: “A reduction in staff may impact on groups such as families with dependent children or pregnant women – or vulnerable due to mental or physical impairments that make then less able to manage than the average person; people leaving care; institutions or armed forces.”
It also warns a smaller team may take longer to get through casework meaning steps to prevent homelessness may be delayed.
Councillor David Green, the Green group’s spokesman for housing, said: “I’m very concerned about this.
“We saved a housing officer’s post in our budget negotiations last year for exactly this reason.This impacts on frontline services for very vulnerable people, and it doesn’t match the rhetoric.”
Announcing his budget proposals on Wednesday, council leader Warren Morgan said: “You can’t look at this budget and say there’s a big headline cut to any particular service.
“These aren’t salami slices they’re proper efficiency measures.”
Conservative group leader Councillor Tony Janio described the plan as a “retrograde step” and said it was “very odd” frontline staff jobs were being targeted.
To mitigate the impacts of the proposed cuts the council plans to have its housing needs team work closely with adult social care, children’s services and others to help identify those at risk of homelessness more early on. It plans to use “more efficient methods” to assist people.
Source: The Argus