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Opposition to Newport council social care outsourcing plans

PLANS which could see social care for older and vulnerable people in Newport outsourced to a private company have been met with opposition.

The plans, which could see Newport City Council-run extra care services to a private contractor in an effort to save £140,000, are part of the authority’s draft budget for the 2017-2018 financial year, which was released last week.

But the city’s branch of trade union Unison argued the plans, which will be discussed at a meeting of the authority’s Labour-run cabinet tomorrow morning, would damage care for older and vulnerable people.

Stephanie Davies, the branch secretary for Unison in Newport – which has set up a petition against the plans – said social care services across the UK had reached “crisis point”.

“Our current circumstances mean we are dealing with both the demographic challenge of an ageing population and continued financial pressures,” she said.

“Outsourcing, however, is not the answer.”

She added she was concerned this would also impact pay and conditions for social care staff, ultimately reducing the quality of service.

“If the services face challenges or fail in the future, it will be the council that has to pick up the cost,” she said.

“With this in mind, it just does not make sense to push this service outside of direct council control and we are calling on cabinet members to remove this proposal from the consultation.”

A council spokesman said the authority faced having to make £5.7 million in cuts next year.

“A number of ongoing projects and savings identified in last year’s budget will cover £2.2 million of the shortfall,” he said.

“A further £2.4 million has been identified through the council taking management actions and making service efficiencies.

“This includes the council currently working with a wide range of social care providers which ensures that people living in Newport receive the quality care and support they need.”

He added the budget would not be finalised until the new year, and no decisions would be made until then.

Today’s meeting at Newport Civic Centre will begin at 11am. It is open to the public.

To view the Unison petition visit

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