Plans to slash social care spending in East Renfrewshire by £7million will be “very damaging,” campaigners have warned.

Members of the local Integration Joint Board (IJB) will be asked to approve the drastic cuts at a meeting being held today.

It would mean social care is prioritised to help those in most need – and those deemed to require a lower level of support will miss out.

However, there are concerns over the impact this could have on vulnerable people such as those with a disability.

Michael McEwan, of East Renfrewshire Disability Action, told the Barrhead News: “When they make cuts like this, they are taking vital services away from the most vulnerable.

“It’s as if disabled people are a burden to society. These cuts are going to be very damaging, that is certain.”

The proposed cuts are part of a new ‘supporting people framework’ expected to be rolled out due to funding challenges.

If the IJB – a partnership between East Renfrewshire Council and the NHS which runs health and social care services locally – approves the plans, it is expected the framework will save £3.2m, while other planned cuts could see around 18 jobs lost.

The savings package includes reviewing commissioned services (£225,000) and care at home (£200,000).

It would also affect Kirkton Day Centre and Connor Road supported housing for young people, with £72,000 and £60,000 set to be saved respectively.

A spokesman for East Renfrewshire’s Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP), which is directed by the IJB, said: “Staff within the HSCP are currently engaged in a series of internal spending reviews and options to redesign services.

“We accept this is a challenging process and savings will impact on the level of care that we provide and we also expect that our workforce will reduce.”

The aim would be to manage staff cuts through “vacant posts and natural turnover.” However, further proposals being “refined” could impact another 18 jobs.

The spokesman added: “We hope we can do this without the need for redundancy and, if we do need to consider this, we would do so on a voluntary basis.”

A report to board members states the “challenge in delivering a balanced budget with savings of this magnitude is unprecedented.”

On the new framework, it adds that “crude, high level modelling” has shown not delivering “care at the low end of eligibility could save £3.5m” and impact around 1,062 people.

“In reality that number should be lower if we can simultaneously achieve savings in care costs that sit within moderate, high and critical,” it states.

If approved, the new policy would begin from April 1 and apply to all adults, older adults and children with a disability accessing social care.

It would not apply to children and young people where there are “care/welfare concerns” or young people leaving care.

A separate report on the framework states there would be less focus on early intervention and prevention as “the current financial climate dictates that our approach will have to shift to keeping people safe and to focus more on current risk.”

Risk would be the “key factor” in determining eligibility for adult social care services, with four categories: critical, substantial, moderate and low.

The spokesman said: “Unfortunately, our financial position means that we will have to prioritise the services that we provide and the ‘supporting people framework’ allows us to do that within nationally-recognised and set parameters for residents.

“Given the resources we have available, social care will be provided when people’s needs and risks are assessed to be in the moderate to critical categories.

“We will no longer be able to provide support where needs are considered to be low and we will instead help people access services and support in the community.”

Low level has been categorised as “some quality of life issues but low risks to an individual’s independent living or health and wellbeing, with very limited, if any, requirement for the provision of social care services.”

Families may be asked to provide support, the report adds.

“We will also advise people on how to make best use of their own personal assets and resources and demonstrate ways that technology can help meet health and social care needs,” it states.

There is “little option” but to prioritise social care, officials reported.

If the financial position improves, then the “policy thresholds” will be reviewed.

“We simply cannot afford to support everyone in the way that we have and we need to think differently about how we support people and where they get support from,” the report states.

Conversations would be had with potential new social care users to assess “strengths, needs, goals and any areas of risk,” while current users would have a review.