Some of Derby city’s most vulnerable residents could find themselves ‘without a roof over their heads’ after councillors voted to slash the supported housing budget by 81 per cent at yesterday’s full council meeting, warns Unite.
Unite, the country’s largest union, had written to Derby city council’s leader, cllr Paul Bayliss, early in the month, to warn that proposals to cut the Supporting People funding could see increasing numbers of young people and families facing homelessness.
The union recognises that the Labour-controlled city council has been put into an impossible position by communities secretary Eric Pickles and the coalition government’s staggering cuts to local government funding, but says more must be done.
Sally Kosky, Unite national officer, said: “Derby city council’s decision means that at least one of the city’s few remaining providers plans to cut its service to the bone, with fewer support workers on greatly reduced salaries, some below the living wage.“
Unite has recently launched a campaign against the ‘race to the bottom’ in supported housing and social care. The union fears that the commissioning process is creating a perfect storm with the drive to compete on price hitting service quality and driving down the pay of an already low paid workforce to breaking point.
Sally Kosky added: “Unite is bitterly disappointed by Derby’s council’s decision. We argue that rather than going along with an approach which means destroying high quality services and undermining the salary and working conditions of employees, employers should join with us and responsible funders in agreeing basic standards.
“The local liaison group ‘Homeless Link’ has reportedly described the cuts as outrageous and I am sure our members in the sector will agree.
“It has been a priority, for our members, to hold the line against cuts in services and it is tragic that Derby has set a record of extreme cuts at this point.”
Supporting People funding provides services for vulnerable people, including victims of the current economic crisis, plus supported housing for those with alcohol and drug dependency, ex-offenders and other vulnerable adults, ensuring a ’safe’ environment for both the individual and the public.
For further information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 07768 693940
- Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with 1.5 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.