Dozens of union members, care home residents and carers have stepped out in protest of planned cuts of three council-run care homes and hundreds of jobs.
A demonstration organised by the GMB union saw multiple union banners and flags as well as placards displaying slogans like “council home care sacrificed for private care on the cheap” waved outside Civic Hall where Leeds City Council’s executive board was meeting to discuss care proposals yesterday.
The outcry comes after reports were published by the authority recommending that the public be consulted over the future of its last specialist residential care homes in Morley, Armley and Seacroft as well as their associated day centres.
The plans, which also include the cutting of the council’s own ‘home care’ services, put around 340 jobs at risk in a council bid to save £12million over the next four years.
Jon Smith, regional organiser for the GMB union, claims the council has offered assurances it will do all it can to review its in-house adult social care services before decisions over the future of its facilities are made.
“We want them to start tasking their chief officers with coming up with an in-house service that comes within budget,” he said. “We do have a degree of sympathy with the council considering Government cuts but it’s just too easy to ship everybody out to the private sector.”
As part of the council’s Better Lives Strategy, Siegen Manor in Morley, Middlecross in Armley and The Green in Seacroft and their day centres could close, affecting 69 permanent residents.
Coun Keith Wakefield, leader of the council, told the meeting that most councillors would “prefer” an in-house adult social care service, stating “if it is financially viable we will do it”.
He said: “We will start this review early so it’s not just words on a paper, and in a meeting we will genuinely sit down and do the review of the service.”
If the review fails to change the council’s approach, a three-month consultation exercise will start in January before a report is developed this summer.
Leeds City Council is searching for £48m of savings this year.