Stockport Council is encouraging residents to have their say on the proposed removal of the Stockport Local Assistance Scheme (SLAS), as part of the need to bridge a funding gap of £15.9 million in 2019/20.
The scheme currently offers support to meet emergency needs, such as when someone has no food, clothing or gas and electric for their home. SLAS also provides practical support to resettle after moving on from temporary accommodation through the provision of furniture, beds and essential household items.
Savings have previously been achieved through reforms to the SLAS service, helping to bridge the £100m funding gap the Council has had to achieve since 2010. However, in order to achieve the further savings required of it, the Council is proposing to end the support available through SLAS, before examining other means by which support previously provided through SLAS can be made available for residents.
The proposal comes as the Council looks to bridge a funding gap of £47m over the next four years as part of its Medium Term Financial Plan, caused by available financial resources not being enough to deal with increased demand for Council services.
Councillor Alex Ganotis, Leader of Stockport Council, said:
“We must be clear that although we are proposing to remove the SLAS service, we will be looking at how the support people currently receive through this service can be provided for in other ways.
“As such this fits within our overall approach to the council budget, which is to achieve savings through reform, whilst seeking ways in which the services people rely upon can still be accessed, wherever possible. We will seek to do this through re-examining the way we commission and looking at who is providing services.
“However, importantly, these proposals are just the start of a conversation, in which we need residents’ views on the use of these funds. This is in order to help us come up with the best and most inclusive solutions possible given the financial circumstances we face. For this reason, we want to encourage people to take part in this consultation, especially those who receive or have received funding through the SLAS.
“This will help us to get our proposals right for the people of Stockport – particularly for some of our most vulnerable residents.”
The consultation will run until 21st December 2018 and residents can find further information and have their say by visiting www.stockport.gov.uk/haveyoursay.
Free internet access and paper copies of the consultation are available in local libraries.
Further consultations on other proposed savings as part of the Medium Term Financial Plan will be released between November and January 2019.
• You can read the full business case (from page 15) here: http://democracy.stockport.gov.uk/documents/s145736/Appendix.2%20-%20Draft%20Implementation%20Plan%20-%20Strategic%20Commissioning.pdf