Cash Crisis Hits Adults with Learning Disabilities; Social Services Centres under Threat of Closure
Byline: PAULDALE Public Affairs Editor
Two day centres for young adults with learning difficulties are in line for closure as part of a Birmingham City Council cost-cutting plan.
The units, in the south of the city at West Heath and in Hockley, are set to become the latest victims of a social services cash crisis.
A leaked memo from the council's director of adults and communities, Peter Hay, warns that a review of service provision seems certain to identify the Hockleyand Collingwood day centres as being under-used and too expensive to keep open. The buildings cost pounds 2.1million a year to run and are used by about 140 people five days a week.
In a memo to staff, Mr Hay said the closure of day centres was necessary to address substantial overspending in learning disability services.
Last month the council admitted that a projected social services budget deficit was largely due to the steady growth in the number of adults requiring help. The cost of the learning disability service has risen from pounds 9million a year in 2006/07 to almost pounds 51million a year now.
There are estimated to be about25,000 people in Birmingham with mild or moderate learning difficulties, and the number is increasing each year.
The review of day centres is part of a continuing search for savings in the Adults and Communities Department.
A maximum pounds 100 weekly charge for home help services is to be scrapped, leaving anyone with savings of more than pounds 22,500 to pay the full cost of their care. …