Welfare bodies fear Tory cuts will hit services hard


Communal leaders have expressed concern over government cuts this new year.

Figureheads from welfare organisations have said that the latest round of public spending cuts and the introduction of the National Living Wage will significantly affect Jewish charities and their service users in 2016.

Simon Morris, chief executive of Jewish Care, the largest communal welfare organisation, said recent changes, including the NLW, which will come into force this year, posed challenges.

He said: "Over the coming year we will be looking across the business to understand how we can meet this additional cost while continuing to provide quality services to meet the growing needs of the community."

He added: "The Government's recent spending review was another indication of the limited funding available for social care. I hope that in 2016 we see local authorities take up the opportunity, outlined in the Comprehensive Spending Review, to increase council tax by 2 per cent to meet the costs of social care. While any funding must be welcomed this increased levy on council tax will still leave us far short of the funding required to provide care."

Norwood chief executive Elaine Kerr said that despite £1.4 million of cuts to central costs in 2014, the charity was operating with a £1 million budget deficit. She said she anticipated "a similar, if not greater deficit" this year.

She said: "Local authorities have sustained significant funding cuts for our services, and our expectation is that further reductions in statutory spending will result in an even greater need for voluntary income. We will be protecting our core services, but this will inevitably lead to reductions in peripheral service provision."

Karen Phillips, chief executive of the Fed in Manchester, said the new NLW posed a "major challenge" - estimating that it would increase the charity's deficit by £80,000. She expects next year's deficit to be around £1.7 million.

She explained: "The impact of this will be far-reaching. With NHS and state-funded residents already hugely underfunded, the combined effect will be potentially catastrophic. We are exploring ways to mitigate the increase. We hope that our statutory funders will be cognisant of the impact on us, and other providers, and will adjust fees accordingly."

However, Lisa Steele, chief executive of Chai Cancer Care in Hendon, north-west London, which supports more than 2,300 people, said that the charity would need to step up fundraising.

She said: "As an organisation that receives no statutory funding, Chai is not susceptible to government cuts. We rely on the community to fund the £2.3 million required to provide Chai's services."

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