Redundancy on the agenda at West Berkshire Mencap

Local council plans to cut its funding by 15 per cent to £417,000

West Berkshire Mencap campaigns against cuts
West Berkshire Mencap campaigns against cuts

West Berkshire Mencap says it will be forced to make redundancies and significantly reduce services if a council goes ahead with proposed cuts.

Julian Swift-Hook, chair of West Berkshire Mencap, said West Berkshire Council had proposed cutting its funding for services from £490,000 in 2011/12 to £417,000 by 2013/14, approximately 15 per cent. The council will make a final decision on the cuts in March.

Swift-Hook said the charity’s children’s services would be the most badly affected, suffering a funding cut from £46,000 to £23,000 over the next two years.

He said that after a campaign against the reductions, the council had agreed to carry out any cuts to the children’s services in phases and would do the same for four other groups.

"The cut in funding will mean a reduction in staff, although the precise details have yet to be confirmed," said Swift-Hook. "Needless to say, we will do our best to ensure that redundancies are kept to a minimum."

Other organisations in line for spending cuts by West Berkshire include: the Dingley Family and Play Therapy Group, Newbury, which will lose £10,000; Crossroads Care, Newbury, which will lose £10,800; Partners for Active Leisure Schemes West Berkshire, which will lose £3,100; and A2Dominion West Berkshire Domestic Abuse Service, which will lose £3,100.

Carol Clements, manager of Dingley Family and Play Therapy Group, said the £20,000 it received from the council accounted for about a third of its total income.

She said the group would attempt to increase fundraising to make up for the shortfall, but if this did not work it might have to cut services.

A statement from West Berkshire Council said that factors such as reduced government funding and inflation meant that the council needed to save £25m over the next four years, including £9m for 2012/13. Its current annual budget is £125m.

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