Premature babies and mentally ill predicted to squeeze cash-strapped Middlesbrough Council (From The Northern Echo)
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Premature babies and mentally ill predicted to squeeze cash-strapped Middlesbrough Council
THE soaring cost of looking after vulnerable children and the elderly could devour more than 75 per cent of a cash-strapped council’s budget.
Middlesbrough is already grappling with cuts of £140m over ten years and the town's elected Mayor, Ray Mallon, has again accused the coalition Government of cutting “too quick and too deep".
All this at a time when he claims adults with mental health problems will more than double, there will be a sharp rise in the number of people with dementia and there will be more premature babies born with low birth weights and possible associated health problems.
“The potential impact of the Care and Support Bill which is expected to become legislation in 2013 is, in essence, more people will be eligible for support from the council as the capital threshold increases and a cap is placed upon the total contribution they can make,” said Mr Mallon, who has insisted that he will not stand for re-election in May 2015.
He said that by 2020 the nought to 19-year-old population will only increase by one per cent to 36,650, while the 65-plus population will grow by 15 per cent to 25,185.
This in a town where six of its wards are among the most deprived one per cent nationally.
Trends could also see the number of people with dementia increase 25 per cent to 375, adults with physical disabilities increase 19 per cent to 1,450 and adults with mental health problems more than double to 2,580 by 2020, he added.
“The success of James Cook University Hospital means we have excellent rates of survival for babies, but also have a high proportion of low weight babies,” Mr Mallon explained.
“More low weight babies mean we are more likely to need to support more young people and then more adults due to the complexities they endure because of the low birth weight.
"If the financial cuts imposed by the Government continue and the demand for adult and children's social care continues to rise as is expected over the coming years, the financial bill will amount to over 75 per cent or more of our budget."
The council has already made cuts totalling £50m since the Comprehensive Spending Review was announced in October 2010 with another £90m envisaged until 2020.
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