IT’S only January and already the axe is falling, while the hand that swings is covered by the velvet glove of Wirral Council’s Task Forces.
Savings have to be found, that much has been made clear, but if one area of local authority provision received consistent support throughout the Your Future: Be a Part of It consultation, it was care for the vulnerable.
Yet, five publicly-run respite facilities and one residential home will close, to claw back £2.7m.
The council opaquely offers “appropriate support” from “appropriate voluntary or independent organisations” but Wirral Mencap contends “there are no viable respite alternatives”.
Councillor Bob Moon says this is “one of the decisions taken as a result of the recent Wirral-wide public consultation”.
But when asked, ‘should the council stop directly providing respite and residential care services and instead buy them in at the same quality but a lower cost from the private and voluntary sector and others’, less than 50% of respondents - 48.8% - agreed.
A firm 36.5% disagreed, while 14.6% had ‘no strong opinion’, putting those agreeing to the proposal in the minority.
This, surely, is no mandate for action that could have a real and lasting effect on the most vulnerable members of our community, and their families.