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Jean Lambert London's Green MEP

Cuts to social work are a false economy, MEP warns

CUTS to council social workers are a false economy that will cost millions, undermine the dignity of many of the most vulnerable, and eat away at community cohesion, London’s Green MEP Jean Lambert has warned.

Speaking while chairing a debate on ‘investing in social services despite austerity’, the MEP said:

“It’s a false economy to cut social services: social work helps families stay together, avoiding costly state interventions, and can provide the social ‘glue’ that binds communities.”

She added: “Social care isn’t just about respecting human dignity – though it certainly does that – it’s about empowering some the most vulnerable and maximising social participation, both of which save us all money in the long run. We need to take into account the social and personal costs of inaction when deciding what is really cost-effective.

“Austerity budgets around Europe simply must invest in social services, especially those services aimed at ensuring people can work if they choose to: employment services, childcare and the like.”

The MEP, author of the recent report ‘Impact of the Crisis on Access to Care of Vulnerable Groups’, made her comments after hosting a lunchtime debate in the European Parliament to mark World Social Work Day yesterday.

The debate, organised by Eurodiaconia, brought together social work professionals from around Europe and MEPs from across the political spectrum.