Ealing voluntary sector succeeds in reducing NHS and council cuts

Reductions in budgets for the sector's contribution to health and social care will be smaller than planned

Ealing NHS cuts reduced
Ealing NHS cuts reduced

A network of community and voluntary sector groups in west London is claiming success after an NHS trust and the local authority reduced their proposed cuts to grants budgets.

Ealing Council and Ealing Primary Care Trust’s combined health and social care grants budgets, which total almost £2.6m a year, would have been reduced to £2.1m in 2011/12 and £1.67m in 2012/13, council papers show.

But after discussions with Ealing Community Network – which represents 450 voluntary and community sector groups – the combined budgets will be reduced to just under £2.3m in 2011/12 and just over £2m in 2012/13.

The revised plans were passed at an Ealing Council cabinet meeting on Tuesday night.

The local authority has also agreed to the network’s request to ring-fence money returned from the £26m London Borough Grants Scheme, which supported charities that work across London boroughs.

London Councils, the representative body for authorities in the capital, announced last year that it would shut down the scheme.

Organisations in the borough will receive £527,000 returned from the scheme in 2011/12 and a further £200,000 in 2012/13.

Andy Roper, chair of Ealing Community Network and chief executive of Ealing Community and Voluntary Service, said: "This shows what can be achieved by a leading CVS, a strong community network and a local council and PCT willing to engage with us.

"The reality on the ground is that many local voluntary and community service groups in Ealing will see cuts in funding over three years.

"But we have managed to reduce overall cuts, backload many of these to year three, protect small groups and maintain a core of high-quality local voluntary and community sector services that can be built up again in future."

An Ealing Council spokeswoman said: "We worked very closely with Ealing’s voluntary sector, listening to its concerns and priorities, to ensure that future funding arrangements are fair and that local services are protected as much as possible.

"We have agreed to bear a greater proportion of the cuts to help protect our local groups and will delay grant reductions in order to give them breathing space to consider how they can best adjust to this tough financial climate."

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