Local senior citizens’ centre under threat because of government cuts

A local day centre for elderly people could be facing closure as a result of government cuts – local MP Chuka Umunna has raised the issue in Parliament this week.

Lambeth Senior Citizens, which is based on Lambert Road off Brixton Hill provides a daily lunch club for the elderly as well as extensive pastoral care. For those who attend the lunch club, many of whom live alone, the club provides pastoral care and a chance to meet and socialise with others.

As well as a low-cost lunch, the elderly people who use the centre are given help and assistance and regular outings are organised. Mr Umunna recently visited the centre and met with many of the elderly people who use it, who told him of what an important part of their lives it was.

Because of government cuts in local authority funding, the future of Lambeth Senior Citizens is in doubt. In Parliament this week, Mr Umunna asked whether ministers would visit the centre to see the affects of cuts to local government budgets on the ground, but this invitation was not accepted.

The Centre provides food and a place to go during the day for elderly people, helping them stay fit and healthy and ensuring that they do not become lonely and isolated so it helps prevent them needing costly treatment and care from the state.

Under the government’s local authority funding settlement, the most deprived 10% of single-tier authorities will see their total spending power reduced by nearly four times as much as the least deprived 10% of single-tier local authorities.

Cuts made by the Conservative-led government to council budgets will mean that per resident, Lambeth’s budget will fall by £104.10 per person in 2011/12 and £55 in 2012/13. Research undertaken by the House of Commons Library, shows that Lambeth’s revenue spending power will fall by £29.88 in financial year 2011/12 and £15.9m in financial year 2012/13.

Commenting, Mr Umunna said: “Lambeth Senior Citizens provides an invaluable service to its users – many of whom are elderly people living alone.

“As a result of the government’s cuts the centre has an uncertain future, but taking away the support which the centre provides could end up costing the exchequer more in the long run.

“The cuts which the government is imposing on local council budgets hit the poorest communities hardest and are putting frontline services at risk. Ministers are going too far too fast and areas like ours are paying the price.”