New settlement won’t help the needy, says MP

Cat Smith speaking in Parliamant.
Cat Smith speaking in Parliamant.
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Fleetwood MP Cat Smith says Government efforts to tackle a crisis in social care do not go nearly far enough.

The Labour MP for Lancaster and Fleetwood was speaking after details of the local government finance settlement emerged.

Under the new settlement, extra will be available to local authorities over two years which will allow the councils to bring forward council tax £900 rises to levy extra cash.

And an extra £240m grant for adult social care support will be made available in 2017/18 by reforming a scheme encouraging councils to build more homes, known as the New Homes Bonus.

Sajid Javid, communities secretary, said it would create a “sustainable” system for everyone who needs social care.”

But Ms Smith said the new measures offered no solutions to the problems.

GLAD

She said: “Whilst we are glad that the Government has finally acknowledged that there is a deep and spiralling crisis in social care, this settlement does not offer any solutions.

“Directing £240 million from the New Homes Bonus to fund adult social care will barely make a dent in the funding gap, which is predicted to be at least £2.6 billion by 2020. Nor does it compensate for the £4.6 billion which has already been cut from adult social care since 2010. The council tax precept has already proven to be an inadequate and short-term sticking plaster for a problem which needs long-term answers.

This will simply not meet existing need. Shifting the burden on to council tax payers creates a postcode lottery in social care services. Councils like Lancashire, where we have a huge proportion of our properties in Band A for council tax, will be unable to raise the money they need. Wealthy areas will prosper whilst poor communities will struggle.

“Winter is already here and there is not a penny more for the 1.2 million elderly people who are living without the care they need. What is clear is that the Government have no new ideas on how to fund social care.”