Northamptonshire social care services 'at risk from cuts'

Budget cuts of up to £85m would put severe pressure on Northamptonshire's adult and children's social care services, a report has found.

External auditors KPMG said some groups providing services could be forced to close if council funding was withdrawn.

The county council said its priority was to protect vulnerable people but charity Age Concern said it was worried about the future.

Currently, £265m is spent on the services from a £1bn council budget.

'Financial gap'

The authority said it would need to make savings of more than £27m from the 2012/2013 social care budget. Up to £85m could be cut over four years.

The auditors' report said: "Against a backdrop of continued demand pressures in adult's and children's social care, it will become more and more difficult to deliver these savings in a way that secures longer term financial and operational sustainability."

Liam Condron, from Age Concern in Northamptonshire, said there was widespread concern over more cuts.

"We lost 20% of our day care funding last year which had an awful impact on people," he said.

"Ensuring that we put money into keeping older people at home, healthy with some dignity and security should be a priority."

Paul Blantern, chief executive of Northamptonshire County Council, said: "Protecting the most vulnerable people in Northamptonshire is the county council's first priority.

"We are faced with the challenge of having less money to spend while demand for services is going up."

The county council said there had been a change in use of day centres over the past few years.

"We are working closely with charitable groups such as Age UK to see what the best way is to move forward," said Mr Blantern.

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