Town hall protest at privatisation plans

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A demonstration will be held outside Blackpool Town Hall in protest at plans to privatise a service which delivers round-the-clock care to vulnerable people.

Local government union Unison has organised the rally amid fears the proposal to outsource the Supported Living service later this year will put the lifeline at risk.

Supported Living started out as a flagship model

Supported Living provides 24-hour care for people with serious learning difficulties in their own homes.

Blackpool Council is handing the service over to the private sector in a move which will save £150,000.

A demonstration will take place at 5pm on Wednesday on the Town Hall steps ahead of a meeting of the full council.

Julia Orry, branch secretary of Unison at Blackpool Council, said: “Supported Living started out as a flagship model and now because of cuts from central government the council will have to say goodbye to this service.

“A private provider will be taking it over unless we can fight to stop this happening as Supported Living will be outsourced.”

She fears privatisation will damage the quality of the service, mean staff will have to work under worse conditions and lead to people losing their regular carers.

She added: “We must protest and speak up for these vulnerable people who are not able to speak for themselves.

“I hope members of the public will show their support by attending the protest.”

The service is provided to 13 people in six houses, and employs 52 people. Of these 18 are taking voluntary redundancy.

Coun Graham, Cain, cabinet secretary for Blackpool Council, said: “Due to cuts to our budget from central government, we have to review the way that we currently run our services.

“External providers have been commissioned to provide social care services in this area of work in Blackpool for many years and are fully regulated by the Care Quality Commission. Those providers are already delivering services to people living within supported living settings in Blackpool.

“Individuals will be supported to select the provider which most suits their individual needs and preferences from among the existing providers on our framework.

“No adults will have to move home unless they wish to and we will help them while they make the choice about who provides their care in the future.”