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Home care change to create new jobs.

Byline: BARRY GIBSON

CONTROVERSIAL care changes will create more than 100 jobs, officials claimed last night.

Kirklees Council believes privatising care for vulnerable adults will lead to up to 150 new jobs.

Council carers currently provide intensive help to people with complex needs and a small proportion of routine care.

But Kirklees wants to privatise its routine work - meaning the council's share of the care sector would drop from 17.5% to 15%.

However, officials say that none of the 450 Kirklees carers will face compulsory redundancy as a result.

A council spokeswoman claimed last night that the move would boost employment in the private sector.

She said: "Changes to the way Kirklees delivers home care services are helping to stimulate growth in care businesses and create 100 to 150 new jobs over the next 18 months.

"There are no anticipated compulsory redundancies, with many more posts created in the independent sector as a result of the change and council staff also offered the opportunity to move to other council-managed teams.

"The council is working closely with unions and providers to ensure that continuity of care is safeguarded.

"Kirklees now aims to have at least three home care providers in each of the borough's six localities, helping to grow sustainable local businesses.

"In the long-term this will assist in giving residents with personal social care budgets more choice in how they buy their own * CONCERN: services.

"The council has been working to develop the care sector for a number of years. We have more than 30 businesses operating locally, delivering services to local people by local people."

The spokeswoman added that the changes would help the council cope with the public spending squeeze.

She said: "Kirklees faces a cut in its budget of more than pounds 80m over the next three years.

Clr Andrew Cooper "Continuing the growth of the independent sector will help redesign home care services to run more efficiently, by getting more of a mixture in the home care market place and developing urgent and short-term support, such as helping people to regain their independence after a stay in hospital or recovering from an illness.

"This avoids the need for people to have long-term home care services and we expect to save more than pounds 1m over the next three years."

But Clr Andrew Cooper, who leads the four-strong Green group on Kirklees, believes the council is wrong to privatise more care.

The Newsome man said last night: "I'm not in favour of this change, I don't believe in the wholesale privatisation of the public sector.

"The public sector has an important role to play, it sets high standards and is a good check on the private sector.

"Standards of care in the public sector are generally considered to be higher and I'm concerned that those standards may not be maintained."

The Examiner contacted trade union Kirklees Unison yesterday to ask for a comment on the issue.

None was forthcoming.

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* CONCERN: Clr Andrew Cooper
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Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Jul 11, 2011
Words:499
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