"Government should be adequately funding social care costs": Cash call as council committee looks at £225,000 savings

Councillors have hit out at adult social care pressures facing the most vulnerable people in the community and called on the Government for sustained financial support.

Thursday, 24th October 2019, 5:45 pm
Updated Monday, 28th October 2019, 7:03 pm
Hartlepool Civic Centre

It came as councillors on Hartlepool Borough Council Adult and Community Based Services Committee discussed the savings programme for 2020/21.

The department is having to make £225,000 savings to manage budget pressures, which will be made up of plans to better manage demand and increase the care residents receive at home, and will not impact frontline staff.

The Government is set to increase funding to the council for the first time after nine years of cuts, and will provide an additional £1billion nationally to address social care.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

However they are also continuing the 2% adult social care precept, which forms part of the council tax residents pay.

Councillors hit out at the move, which they said places increasing demand on the most vulnerable people in society.

Committee chair Coun Sue Little said: “The Government needs to get on with addressing everyday living needs because these are affecting our residents day in, day out.

“At the end of the day we’re all human beings and we all need that quality of first class care throughout our lives, and we’re putting our most vulnerable at risk.”

Coun Stephen Thomas said: “These services massively impact on the quality of life, dignity and wellbeing of the most vulnerable members of our communities.

“The social care precept is quite simply wrong, central government should be adequately funding social care costs for councils within their main budget funding.

“It’s putting the burden of social care funding onto the poorest at a local level. The long-term future of adult social care still isn’t being addressed by central government.”

Councillors also raised concerns reports were not truly exploring the impact social care savings and council tax increases were having on residents.

Coun Marjorie James said: “If the decision is taken to put the 2% precept on council tax, as a knock on consequence council tax goes up by 2%.

“I’m getting increasingly concerned that we wrap these things up and say there is no equality impact but in actual fact potentially there is.

“They are not easy decisions and they are going to have a huge impact on those families that are already desperate.”

Jill Harrison, director of adult and community based services on the council, said they recognise the impact cuts are having on the services and added it is a credit to the council they manage demand as they do.

She said: “What we’ve tried to do over many years is minimise the impact on frontline services and protect the frontline staff that provide direct service to people.

“We recognise how valuable they are in terms of supporting people in our community.

“If you’re making savings over nine years, you can’t manage that impact over those years without having an impact on the services people receive, it’s about trying to minimise that impact.”