Changes to Funding for Housing Related Support-Funded Older Peoples’ Services’
Cllr Danvers drew attention to the draconian nature of savings targeted at alarm systems for the elderly. Amounting to nearly £1.5M, the cuts act as a clear example of reductions being made at the expense of the most vulnerable across Essex. The most severely affected areas are Basildon, Uttlesford and Harlow, with the latter alone finding its funding cut by over half.
‘This is simply another example of an austerity cut falling on the poorest and most vulnerable in the Essex community.’ Said Cllr Danvers. ‘Why they should still be punished for the cost of supporting failing bankers is beyond belief’.
2015-16 Financial Overview at the Half Year Stage.
Cllr Young drew attention to a number of issues regarding Adult social care provision, particularly questioning the £3.4M overspend amassing from greater pressures on existing care and support infrastructures. Particularly of concern was the underfunding of key delivery areas and implementation issues arising from the delayed realisation of phase 2 of the government’s care act.
Cllr Young also questioned cabinet members on pressures to 14+ adoption and fostering services, with a 29% rise in cases (8% greater than the national average) placing greater strain on processes due to extra complexity. This was further pressed in relation to strains incurred as a result of the Syrian refugee crisis, and the issue of unaccompanied asylum seekers. Cllr young made enquiries as to what impact this might have upon fostering and adoption services, and whether or not the cabinet member responsible was seeking additional funding from central government to alleviate potential pressures.
South East LEP Local Growth Fund Transport Schemes – A127 Road Safety and Network Resilience Package
While welcoming infrastructural improvements to the area, both Cllr’s Young and Bobbin questioned the cabinet on the closing of Christopher martin road and the issue of flooding. It was also requested that greater attention be paid to the views of local residents and businesses, and that more detailed plans be released in regards to delivery timescales and site mapping. This is a particularly complex issue, and without adequate foresight and planning, could simply lead to greater congestion on major roads.
Establishment of a New Primary Academy/Free School and Early Years Centre on Beaulieu Park, Chelmsford.
Cllr Young, as on a number of previous occasions, raised issues regarding school sprinkler systems and fire regulations. It was noted that it appeared initial cost savings were being made at the expense of pupil safety.
Concerns were also raised regarding survey data and validity of survey findings due to insubstantial respondents. Comments were taken on board by the cabinet.