Yesterday Oxfordshire County Council announced that it plans cuts of £69 Million to services, cuts that even it says go beyond its “worst-case scenario”
The Council is recommending wide ranging and catastrophic cuts that will affect the entire community, including the vital services that we offer at Headway Oxfordshire.
Here is Jamie Miller CEO of Headway Oxfordshire on the impact these brutal cuts will have on Oxfordshire.
“On his election David Cameron promised a “Big Society” but his policies have created the “Big Catastrophe”. This is a huge national issue with a real and clear local impact!
There is no sugar coating this, the reality of these cuts mean that (despite what David Cameron says) many of Oxfordshires most essential and preventative front line services will be cut.
We are seeing cuts and closures in Homelessness support, childrens services, day care centres, services for the disabled and clinically ill.
What people need to understand is not just that these services will be cut but that the cuts will have a far deeper accumulative impact over time. First and foremost the most vulnerable in our community will be denied the essential support they require and their circumstances and/or conditions are likely to deteriorate accordingly, requiring more costly crises support from health and social care in the future.
In addition, the voluntary sector organisations that are offering potentially creative and efficient solutions to the ever growing need, are the very organisations that are having their funding withdrawn, meaning this precious resource that directly supports health and social care services, will be lost. As the demographic of those requiring health and social care within our community continues to grow, the statutory services will not be able to cope.
And then lastly, what remains? OCC have stated that they will only provide support to those that they are legally obliged too. This support is in the form of a “personal budget” that is itself based on a persons assessed eligibility for care. The eligibility criteria are now set so high that only a small percentage of those who currently have an identified need, will be eligible going forward. What will happen to those that are now considered ineligible? Will they simply disappear or miraculously become well? Even those that are deemed eligible will have to then plan and arrange their own care (not easily done if you have a brain injury for example). Furthermore, the voluntary sector organisations that they used to get their support from are of course no longer there, because they have had to close due to the cuts! SO where do they purchase their care from?
OCC and OCCG should be fully engaging voluntary sector providers in the strategic planning of future service provision.
The voting public should be under no illusion, this will change the entire fabric of our society! What is happening is immoral, unjust and undemocratic and I urge the people of Oxfordshire to demand better of their politicians!”