Things will become a lot clearer when the Con-Dem coalition’s spending review is announced next month. In the meantime, here is a list of mainly local cuts mooted before the General Election (as of Mayday 2010), some already being made. Since May there have been further announcements including the abolishing of some NHS Trusts, Authorities and Organisations over the coming years, plus a additional cut of £4 billion in the welfare budget. Locally we can add Carlton Road to the list of library closures which will probably get ‘merged’ with St Anns.
- Proposed closure of Riverside Residential Home
- Closure of the Willows Older Persons Day Centre at weekends
- New £2 daily charge for attendance at all Adult Day Centres
- Cuts in day care for adults living in Residential and Nursing Homes
- 3% Increase in charges for Homecare, meals at home and transport to Day Centres
- Disbanding of City Council Deaf Team
- Closure of Victoria Leisure Centre was brought forward
- Closure of libraries at Wilford and Beechdale
- Closure of Radford Unity Complex
- Closure of Council for Equality and Human Rights
Nottingham County Council planned £28.7m cuts this year
- End of funding for Dial-a-ride
- Care homes to be privatised
- Several recycling centres to close
- County Contact points to close
- 1,400 jobs to be lost over three years
- Increase in community care charges from £8.80 to £12.00 per hour
- Increase in the cost of meals in residential and day care services by over 50%
- Increase in home to day care transport charges for service users by 86%
- Reduce welfare rights provision by 33%
Nottingham NHS Trusts to cut £133 million over four years
The NHS is expecting to have to make £20bn savings by 2014. From a survey by the Royal College of Nurses, 26 of the 168 English healthcare trusts 5,600 jobs were already earmarked for cuts in an attempt to slash costs, rising to 36,000 in a worst-case scenario if the trend was replicated across all hospital trusts. Hospital Trusts were also planning a reduction of 1,500 hospital beds.
Added to this, a recruitment freeze is in place in a number of trusts and workers leaving the NHS are not being replaced. As an example of what this means over 3000 nurses a year retire from the service. We can expect a step up in the policies of privatisation put in place by the Tories and continued by Labour. This will involve an increase in the farming out of services to privately run treatment services and a continuing expectation of community services such as the blood service and interpreting and translation to compete against multinational companies in the marketplace.
The framework is already in place for services such as Health Visitors and Midwives to follow the same route. The NHS with its free healthcare for all when it’s needed is by far our most popular of our public institution. Sickness and suffering should never be something run in the name of profit.
Education – in short
University and College workers will not be getting a pay deal. More than threequarters of universities in England are to have their budgets cut for this September – some by nearly 14%, Up to 200,000 prospective university students – around a third of all applicants – are likely to miss out on a place this year because of unprecedented demand. In Nottingham, Castle College is making cuts of £6 million and is to close three of its campus – Eastwood, Carlton Rd and Beeston are being sold off with a total of 115 workers being made redundant.
Benefits and ‘Welfare Reform’
Whilst more and more people require access to the meagre benefits they need, it continues to becomes harder and harder to get them. At 2.5 million, the number of people out of work is at its highest since the last three months of 1994. But the claimant count actually fell by 33,000 to 1.5 million in March 2010. This follows a revised fall of 40,000 in February 2010, which was the sharpest drop since June 1997. One economist euphemistically stated that people out of work are “either unable to claim benefits or choosing not to”. Everyone else knows the reason for this – the numerous hoops, lengthy delays and constant harassment claimants have to endure for a payment that continues to decrease compared with the costs of living.
The number of people classed as ‘economically inactive’ is at the highest level since records began in 1971. Longterm unemployment (those out of work for more than a year) increased by 89,000 to 726,000. The recent Welfare Reform Act introduced ‘Work for your Benefit’ pilot schemes similar to ‘workfare’ in the USA – 40-hour-weeks for under a third of the minimum wage, a pitiful £1:27 an hour. It also attacked single parents who face sanctions if they fail to prepare for work outside the home as soon as their child turns three and people with impairments, disabilities or severe and enduring illnesses who are being forced off Incapacity Benefit (or ESA) on to Jobseekers.
Source: The Nottingham Sparrow, No.4, May 2010 http://www.afed.org.uk/nottingham/nottingham_sparrow_4.pdf