David Stewart MSYP
I am concerned that we may be on the cusp of a social care crisis. I hear growing concerns within the sector about policies that are soon going to be put in place, which risk compromising the services social care organisations can provide.
With inflation increasing the cost of providing services, local authorities face even more financial constraints and are having to make significant efficiency savings. In many cases, councils prioritise protecting intensive social care provisions. However, community-based, early intervention and preventative service provision are often likely to suffer from cost saving plans. Through the local work I undertake, I know that many organisations in Glasgow are challenged by these cuts. Some of Glasgow’s most vulnerable residents are supported by these organisations.
Austerity cuts facing local authorities in Scotland isn’t a new problem, but recent experiences as a Member of the Scottish Youth Parliament have inspired me to raise awareness of the impact these cuts may have in local communities.
Following the launch of the Scottish Youth Parliament’s national campaign, POVERTY: See It Change It, I had the opportunity to visit Action for Children in Glasgow to hear about their extensive services across Scotland. Action for Children support the most vulnerable and neglected children and young people throughout the UK. I fear that in the climate of austerity, the invaluable services provided by organisations, such as Action for Children, face the risk of becoming compromised and potentially unsustainable.
Action for Children, like many other social care organisations that provide housing support, rely on housing benefits to finance the supported accommodation they make available. Potential changes to welfare policy causes further matters of concern with regards to the ability of these organisations to sustain the levels of support they currently offer.
At a time where research shows that one in five of our children and young people in Scotland live in poverty, we simply cannot risk compromising the services social care organisations are able to provide. As a society, it is time that we recognise how invaluable these organisations are, and make it our priority to work together to call on decision makers to protect the services they provide to our communities.
I’d like to encourage everyone to use their voice to raise awareness of the importance of protecting these organisations. You can visit www.syp.org.uk to find out more about SYP’s campaign to combat child and youth poverty, and see how you can get involved.