SERVICES for the young and old could be dramatically affected by the proposals to cut spending to shore up a £12m council budget shortfall.

Certain charges for residential care will rise by 68 per cent , while youth centres could close their doors.

An overhaul of the charges for care at council-owned homes will see the cost for new elderly residents to rocket from £417 per week to £700 – a 70 per cent rise.

The costs for permanent and respite residents of all ages will also go up from £417 a week to £600 – a 44 per cent hike.

Coun Mark Edwards, lead member for finance, said the price rises were aimed at ending the subsidy on the service and bringing it in line with the private sector. He pointed out that charges for existing residents and minimum charges would only be raised by a small amount.

He said: “Many of the changes we are making are simply about bringing the council up to date. Go to any other local authority and you will find the same kinds of hard choices are being made.

“No existing residents should be worse off.”

There will also be changes to the house home care service, where there will be no redundancies but reduced hours adding up to 23 positions and a £500,000 saving.

Coun Edwards said: “The problem at the moment is that we have no co-ordination with people visiting households. When we have someone driving from South Swindon, then to Penhill, then West Swindon, then back to Penhill it obviously needs to be re-evaluated.

“The question that is obviously going to be asked is why weren’t these savings made before - the fact is that we now have data that we didn’t have before and we can see where those savings can come from.”

Plans to shave 10 per cent off the youth services budget were also defended by Coun Edwards, who could not rule out the closure of some youth centres.

He said: “The fact is that some areas of the town need youth facilities more than others and we have to look at how we can deliver those services most efficiently.

“What’s available for young people in Old Town is different from West Swindon or the town centre and we need to look carefully at that.”