Thursday, 29 September 2011

Stop Labour's Stealthy Cuts to Reading's Sheltered Housing

This week without a fanfare - no press release - Reading Council's Labour administration launched a consultation on sheltered housing.

It is available here on the Council's website.

The Sheltered Housing Services Consultation asks for views on the current service and the proposed changes at 10 of the Council's sheltered housing schemes.

The proposals include:

  • changes to the amount of support time provided.
  • changes to the Sheltered Housing Officer's working week
  • the promotion of activities across all the schemes
  • opening up some of the schemes to people under the retirement age who need specialist housing support
  • views on the current night service
This may sound like a consultation about how to improve the service.

It isn't.

It's a precursor to planned cuts in services.

However, perusal of the documentation reveals the main driver: saving money:
"We have taken into account that we spend a large amount of money on support for older people in sheltered housing.  Currently £721,860 is spent on support for 635 tenants in 21 sheltered housing schemes across Reading.  However, sheltered housing tenants represent only 3.5% of the total population of older people in Reading."
People who live in sheletered housing tend to be 60 or over.

Many of them are on low incomes.

In short these are some of Reading's most vulnerable citizens.

Labour made no mention of this in their election literature or their manifesto.

Four months into running the Council they are planning to slash services to Council tenants and in particular older Council tenants.

Were the Greens aware this is what they signed up to when they let Labour back in?

People often say you can judge a society by the way it treats its elderly..

This cut is wrong and not one Liberal Democrat councillors would have made.

Only we have pledged to protect the most vulnerable children and adults in Reading.

We got the Council to agree to this at the last meeting.

How quickly Labour councillors have forgotten.

I have launched this petition - please sign it here.