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Kent County Council must protect most vulnerable from budget cuts

People who are struggling must not be pushed further into poverty

More needs to be done to protect vulnerable people from potential Kent County Council budget cuts.

We are raising concerns about Kent County Council’s budget consultation - an online questionnaire - which asks the public to make the hard choices about which services should receive less money.

At one point, users are asked: ‘If you had to remove £1 from one of the services areas, please tell us where you would remove your £1 from?’

One of the options given is social support: homelessness, drug and alcohol, domestic abuse, mental health and loneliness services all fall under this category.

The economic impacts of Covid are already having a devastating effect on the poorest and most vulnerable people in our communities and the services that support them are needed more than ever. Porchlight currently depends on Kent County Council funding* to support thousands of people who are affected by homelessness, experience mental health issues or have been cut off from the community.

“Thousands of Kent households are turning to organisations like Porchlight for help because they are facing desperate decisions on a daily basis,” says our chief executive Mike Barrett. “People are so frightened because they don’t know how they’re going to get through this.

“We understand that Kent County Council is facing enormous financial challenges because of coronavirus, but any potential cuts in social support services will have devastating consequences. Now is the time to ensure that people who are already struggling to get by are not pushed further into poverty by this crisis.”

Vulnerable people who benefit from social support will struggle to have their say in the consultation. Many don’t have access to the internet and lockdown measures mean they can’t use libraries or community centres to go online.

We're urging Kent County Council to discuss the potential impact of funding cuts before any final decisions are made.

Mike Barrett says: “The coronavirus is having a dramatic impact upon the most vulnerable people and communities in Kent. To address the challenges that lie ahead, we need to invest in services and invest in the people who desperately need our care and support.”