Leeds: Elderly set to be hit hardest in £50m cuts

Councillors have taken the first steps in approving a £50m cuts package for Leeds.

Government grant allocations confirmed this week by Communities Minister Eric Pickles are more or less exactly in line with senior council officers' predictions, executive board members were told.

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The news means that front-line services across the board are likely to be slashed – with care for the elderly being particularly hard-hit.

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Executive Board members have now agreed to start a programme of consultation with residents on proposals to reshape adult social care services in the city.

The future of 19 residential homes and 16 day centres for older people in Leeds is to be the subject of a public consultation as council chiefs seek to cut costs and balance the books.

Under the plans, an estimated one-third of non-residential customers will pay more for services like home care and transport, removing subsidies on charges for adult social care services for people that can afford to pay more.

Charges for meals will no longer be subsidised if the changes go ahead.Transport costs for elderly people could also rise from 1.30 per day to 22.50 per day and day care attendance from 3.15 per day to 28 per day.

Elderly people not currently eligible for charges will not be affected by the proposals.

Coun Lucinda Yeadon, executive board member for adult social care,

said: "We are in an incredibly difficult financial situation and we have had to face some very difficult issues.But we want to find a way of consultation that meets the concerns of the most vulnerable in the

most financially viable way possible.

"We have to look at everything we do as a council and this is the start of that. I know that this is a report which a lot of people already have concerns about and I appreciate how sensitive it is."

The public consultation on the proposals is set to begin early in the New Year.

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