NAT Concerned by end of Protected Grant for Care of People with HIV
Decision to end ring-fence of the AIDS Support Grant means uncertain future for HIV social care services
Communities Secretary Eric Pickles’ surprise announcement in a written ministerial statement on 10 June that the AIDS Support Grant will no longer be ring-fenced in the current financial year has left the future of social care services for people living with HIV in question.
The Grant, introduced in 1989, plays a crucial role in ensuring local authorities have the resources need to provide vital social care support for people living with HIV. Last year NAT (National AIDS Trust) conducted an independent review of the grant which found it to be an important source of social care funding for HIV. The review showed that services, including counselling, peer support, staff training, support for carers and respite care, may not continue if the Grant was no longer ring-fenced.
Deborah Jack, Chief Executive of NAT, comments:
"I am very concerned by the announcement that the ring-fence will be removed from the AIDS Support Grant during this financial year. Until now the ring-fence has ensured local investment in social care services for people living with HIV whose needs might otherwise be ignored due to the stigma and discrimination which still exists in our society.
Many local HIV organisations rely on money from the AIDS Support Grant to carry out their vital services.
We are urgently seeking assurances from the Government that steps will be taken to ensure local authorities continue to meet the social care needs of people living with HIV."
As well as requesting an urgent meeting with Mr Pickles, NAT has written to Paul Burstow MP, the new Minister for State for Social Care Services, setting out the need to continue to protect funding for social care needs of people living with HIV after 2011.
Notes to the editor:
NAT’s report on the AIDS Support Grant is available to download here.
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