Cuts will see more youngsters sleeping rough, charity warns

A Derbyshire charity fears more young people will end up sleeping rough as a result of controversial budget cuts.

County Hall, Matlock.
County Hall, Matlock.

SAFE – which helps homeless youngsters find accommodation – faces an 85 per cent cut to its budget as a result of Derbyshire County Council (DCC) savings.

The charity currently helps about 300 16 to 24-year-olds but claims the “unsustainable” cuts mean it will now only be able to assist 49 young people.

DCC – which must save £157m over the next four years and slash 1,600 jobs – blamed Government cuts to local authorities for the “devastating” situation.

Sarah Wainwright, of SAFE, said: “Although we will, of course, do our very best with whatever resources we have available, this level of reduction will result in the abandonment of some of the most challenging young people in our communities.

“This decision may bring about savings in the short-term but I believe the economic and social consequences in the long-term will be dire.

“I fear that the number of people becoming homeless and sleeping rough will rise as a result of this decision.”

Councillor Claire Neill, DCC cabinet member for adult care, said: “I have every sympathy with the youngsters who are supported by SAFE.

“That’s why I am working with SAFE, and organisations like them, to try and find ways of continuing to provide some sort of service in the face of devastating Government cuts.

“I will be taking advantage of every opportunity to delay the cuts to these services. DCC leader Cllr Anne Western has announced that we will be using £450,000 worth of business rates to support this area of our work. This means that we will be able to put off making some cuts for another year.

“But I have a difficult choice to make. I am not required by law to fund the services provided by SAFE. That’s why cuts are being proposed in this area.

“DCC helps those people who cannot support themselves and so any cut to our budget will impact on those who need our help.”