KCC’s draft budget to be discussed and voted on this coming Thursday, 10 Feb, is proposing £37.9m of savings [read cuts]. £10 million of these proposed savings, or 26.5% of these savings/cuts, will fall on the homeless, the disabled, school kids and college students.
The budget falls disproportionately on these groups of people. The budget could find savings elsewhere, but we believe an email to your local KCC Cllr will not change much at all. But if you don’t try, you never know.
One of the budget cuts proposed is the cessation of KCCs Homelessness contract, with Porchlight, Look Ahead and a network of specialist providers from September 2022.
The expected saving [read cut] is £2.3m. KCC say they are developing suitable transitional arrangements which could be [so no guarantee] funded from reserves. But given reserves at KCC are currently below 5%, according to the draft budget, continuing to use reserves would not be sustainable, or financially prudent.
If the budget passes, as expected, the loss of Porchlight et al, would be devastating as district/borough councils will not have the money at the levels to top up any shortfall, or sustain these services long term. Let’s not forget they cut the budget to MCCH, which helped people with Mental Health issues, find and sustain work.
The homeless will suffer. The cuts will remove trusted people they engage with regularly. From Oct 2022, we believe more Homeless charities across Kent, such as the Folkestone Rainbow Centre, The Bridge Trust, Homeless Care, will see an increase in their workload, unless an 11th Hour deal can be struck, which seems unlikely.
Also contracts and grants with voluntary sector providers such as Disability Information Services Kent [DISK], based in Folkestone, who provide information and advice on what matters to people with a learning or physical disability. DISK advise on a range of topics such as benefits; holidays; mobility and transport and services available that promote independence are set to go in Sept 2022 if the budget passes.
Again another group of people who need help and assistance. The loss of Robert & Stephen, who’ve worked at DISK forever, will be a great loss to the community. They have both done excellent work over the years, and both should be put forward for a gong.
There’ll be an increase in price of the 16+ Travel Saver from the current price of £420 to £500, a 20% increase. This is expected to save KCC, £350,000. The 16+ Travel Saver is for those aged 16 – 19. It is a 24/7 scheme and used by those attending school, college, work, learning provider or apprenticeship provider.
So, those setting out to improve their lot in life at an early age, will also be hit by KCCs proposed draft budget savings – read cuts.
Also, the draft budget recommends the Kent Travel Saver price to increase from £370 to £450, a 22% increase, from when the application window for 2022 academic year opens in May 2022 & increase price of pass for those on lower incomes or in receipt of Free School Meals from £120 to £150, a 25% increase.
It also recommends the withdrawal of the current free entitlement to discretionary disabled companion passes from the ENCTS scheme and withdraw the right for Other Local Authority (OLA) disabled companion passes to be used for travel in Kent.
The breakdown of the £37.9m in savings [read cuts] are:
Policy Savings £9.6m
Transformation Savings £8.9m
Efficiency Savings £5.0m
Financing Savings £2.1m
Income Generation £8.7m
Specific Grant Income £3.6m
If you want any of this to change, then you can email your KCC Cllr who can be found ⇒ here
The Shepway Vox Team
Dissent is ESSENTIAL in any Democracy