September 30th, 2016

Coventry charities helping vulnerable face £1.2m council cuts

COVENTRY charities are set to be hit by £1.2million more council cuts – threatening services to vulnerable people.

Coventry City Council’s ruling Labour cabinet has launched consultation on the proposals – before deciding precisely where the cuts axe will fall.

About 40 charities, voluntary and community organisations share nearly £9million in council grants – to help the elderly, disabled, vulnerable children, the homeless, refugees and others in need.

But in February, the Labour majority of councillors forced through a budget which included cuts to these grants, rising to £1.2million by 2016/7.

Cuts already identified include a £110,000 saving in grant to the Coventry Refugee and Migrant Centre.

Charities in Coventry have for years had to accept council funding cuts, which both Conservative and Labour administration maintained could be found through efficiency savings – without impacting frontline services.

The council’s cabinet has decided against implementing an across the board 12.5 per cent to all the organisations.

Instead, the council is requiring individual organisations during an eight-week consultation to explain how the cuts could impact on their services.

The final cuts proposals are due to be considered by the council’s cabinet on January 5 next year.

The council says it has no choice but to implement the savings because of unprecedented government cuts to its funding.

Coventry council leaders expect government funding to be halved by 2017 from since 2010 levels.

They estimate government funding cuts since 2010 amount to around £638 for every Coventry household – and thousands of jobs have been lost across the local authority.

Council officers say, if the grant cuts to external organisations were avoided, more cuts to directly provided council services would result – with £13million of extra savings still to be identified in the council’s 2016/7 budget.

The grants include payments to the city’s large arts, cultural and sports trusts.

A report by council finance manager Paul Jennings states: “The council’s view is that a do nothing option is not appropriate and that it is reasonable to expect that the level of grant payments that it makes should undergo a level of reduction that is broadly equivalent to those being experienced across other areas of the council.

“The council’s grant funded partners deliver services that contribute to all the council’s priorities.

“… It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that the scale of savings identified in this report will reduce these partners’ ability to maintain current levels of service in a number of areas.

“…The council recognises the impact that the reductions are likely to have and has a strong desire to support the sector to manage the funding reductions in a way that minimises these.”

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