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Council abandons rationing plans

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Birmingham City Council has conceded defeat over controversial plans to raise the eligibility criteria to ‘critical’ for care services targeted at vulnerable adults.

The decision comes in the wake of a judicial review that found the authority had not consulted properly on its “new offer” for adult social services and was in breach of the Disability Discrimination Act.

It will add £51m to the council’s budget next year and some £69m in 2013-14.

The policy change was contained in a budget blueprint for 2012-13 that includes £65m of new savings as part of a four-year drive to save £350m and the loss of 1,070 full-time equivalent jobs. According to the draft budget, the council needs to find £82.7m in new savings in 2013-14, and £129.6m in 2014-15.

Randal Brew (Con), cabinet member for finance, insisted that no final decisions had been made about the proposals, which are out to consultation until early January.

“The proposals put forward have been developed to ensure they meet the council’s service priorities of protecting vulnerable people, improving job prospects, improving education and making Birmingham a clean and safe city to live and do business in,” he said.

Other pressures reflected in the budget consultation included delays to savings expected from proposals to review the council’s home-to-school transport service for about 6,200 children.

A commitment not to export jobs abroad as part of the Service Birmingham contract, was expected to have “some consequences”.

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