England’s social care system is at the point of crisis. Those are not my views alone, but rather the views of leading health professionals and charities from across public life.
The Government has ignored the growing issue for some time leading to the overwhelming consensus that Britain’s care system for older people and disabled adults is on the brink of crisis.
Councils are doing all they can to help people live independently in their communities and reduce demand on hospitals but the Government has significantly reduced the grants it gives to local authorities meaning that the support councils provide for those most at need is stretched to breaking point.
More older people are living with long term conditions and need some amount of support, but with social care services facing unprecedented funding cuts since 2010 and social care services facing a £2.3 billion funding gap by 2020, this is becoming increasingly difficult which may result in older people being readmitted to hospital.
The Governments response was an announcement that could see council tax rise up to £107 a year across Britain. But even then, the impact of almost eight years of cuts means that the money raised from this move will not even come close to addressing the funding gap facing our public services.
Independent research from the House of Commons has shown that the move will raise roughly £200 million next year – hardly touching the £2 billion shortfall. This has left thousands of people facing the prospect of incurring catastrophic costs for their care.
Sadly, Tameside has not been immune to these cuts and will have lost close to £200 million of Government funding by end of the next two years. That is unsustainable and has only happened because of the votes of Tory and Liberal Democrat MPs in the Commons from 2010-15.
The Institute for Fiscal Studies and the National Audit Office have for some time reported that deprived areas are suffering most from the harshest Government cuts to councils with the top 10 most deprived councils in England set to see cuts higher than the national average, with nine on course for cuts more than three times higher the national average.
Labour choose to take a different approach to this Government as we wish to act for the many in our communities. We will ensure that local government has a sustainable approach to funding, based on the cost of current and future services for our neighbourhoods, and not on an ideological desire to cut year-on-year.
With important local elections taking place across metropolitan districts up and down the country on May 3 people have the chance to use their vote to call for more desperately needed support for the vital social care services that so many rely upon.