Protest to protect county’s adult social care

A group of Unison trade union members gathered outside the Lincolnshire County Council on Friday to protest against proposed cuts to adult social care in the county.

Around 50 people arrived at the County Council’s headquarters on Newland Street with placards and speakers to express their feelings on the potential cuts.

Lincolnshire County Council are currently facing both large-scale job cuts and changes to social services, such as adult social care.

The County Council are looking to cut adult care by 25% over the next four years, and deliver the service only when it was seriously needed.

The Unison group protested peacefully outside the main entrance of the building, before heading inside to sit in on a council meeting.

Unison Workplace Representative Mark Leatherbarrow said: “It’s a union-organised demonstration against general social care cuts, changes to the council’s structure as a whole and the changes in adult social care, being defined by people who have just been appointed.

“That’s the time at which the majority of the cuts are going to start to show in terms of job losses. What will come fast on the heels of that is changes or loss of services and increases in the costs of services.

“This demonstration is to try and show the weight of support that we have to say to the councillors that we don’t want this sort of structure.

“Basically we’ll make a lot of noise to let the councillors know they will not get away with anything they wish and in particular, the issue of actually going to the populace of Lincolnshire and saying ‘This is what we’re proposing and this is what it’s going to mean in terms of change’.”

In the meeting, it was stressed that companies such as Care Connect and the Social Care Association would continue to support carers in the best way possible.

Councillor Graham Marsh, Executive Councillor for Adult Social Care, said: “The fact remains that like all authorities, Lincolnshire has to find substantial savings over the coming years due to the financial crisis the government is faced with.

“Our aim in Adult Social Care, like other council functions, is to protect frontline services and those for the most vulnerable. With more people moving to personal budgets, so that they have more choice and control over the services they want and need, our services need to reflect this.

The funding for adult social care is still in the consultation period so the final decisions will not be known until January 4.

The Lincolnshire County Council says it will have a 11.2% reduction to the funding from government grants in 2011-2012, and a further 6.8% in 2012-2013.

The County Council’s total cuts over the next two years equate to £42.8million, a cash reduction of 18%.

Photo: Peter Barton