Charities told to expect council budget cuts

By Jessica Elgot, October 7, 2010

Jewish charities in Barnet have been told to expect cuts of more than 15 per cent from Barnet Council's funding of services for the elderly and learning disabled.

Charities like Norwood, Langdon, Jewish Care and Kisharon must prepare budgets to show how they would cope with the loss of funding from the council – which must slash 25 per cent of its services budget over the next three years.

Neil Taylor, Jewish Care's director of care and community services, said: "We are disappointed that Barnet has decided to pass on these cuts, despite a statement from the Prime Minister recently, in which he expressed his hope that local authorities will not do the 'easy thing' by cutting money from voluntary organisations.

"Of course, we remain keen to work closely with Barnet to identify ways to mitigate the impact of these cuts in whatever ways we can.

"Unfortunately, these cuts will undoubtedly mean that individuals and their families will be asked to make more of a contribution towards the cost of the care and support they receive from Jewish Care.

"What we want to try to avoid at all costs is having to close services that our community needs because of reductions in the amounts local authorities will pay."

Langdon Foundation's head Beverley Kaye said the cuts did not come as a shock to the learning disabled charity. "This will not be a knee-jerk reaction. We have to make sure the cuts don't affect our clients or our support staff.

"We don't employ surplus staff and we have been planning for months to combat this. It is not the fault of the council; they have had the cuts passed down to them."

Langdon Community chief executive Robert Mutch added: "We applaud the work of Barnet Council in consulting us." He suggested that Jewish charities may have to work together on services that overlap in order to cut costs.

Learning disability charity Kisharon could also expect 15 per cent cuts to its services. Last year, Kisharon's budget was just over £4 million, with more than half coming from government and local authority funding, leaving the charity to raise £1.4 million from the community. The charity has already pledged that it will do its upmost not to cut any of the services it provides.

A Norwood spokesperson said: “The London Borough of Barnet is one of several local authorities that commission our services for adults with learning disabilities.

"In response to the increasingly difficult economic climate and in anticipation of the cuts in government expenditure due to be announced on 20 October 2010, Norwood is undertaking a review of its services to ensure we are providing value for money and that our resources are being used as effectively as possible.”

Last updated: 3:32pm, January 5 2011