Greenwich Council

Agenda item

Motion relating to Social Care Funding

Proposed by CouncillorsDon Austen, Stephen Brain, John Fahy, David Gardner, Denise Hyland, Mark James, Clare Morris, Cherry Parker, Denise Scott-McDonald, Jackie Smith and Danny Thorpe.

Decision:

Resolved – That this Council acknowledges that the Local Government Finance settlement allows local authorities to frontload the new social care precept, but agrees with the Health Select Committee, LGA and King’s Fund that this still leaves a major funding gap that can only make a small dent in the mounting social care crisis. Council believe that this will not only mean additional suffering for vulnerable people needing support and their families, but will have a direct impact on our equally hard pressed NHS.

 

Council praises our professionals in the Royal Borough for their continued dedication in ensuring the safe and timely discharge of hospital patients, and the on-going integrated support in the community and at home. Council notes the excellent record in Greenwich on delayed discharges due to assessments and reablement to care but also the increasing pressure due to the scarcity of residential care, where costs are spiralling. Council notes that while Social Care budgets have been cut by £5bn in England (£10m in Royal Borough of Greenwich's net budget) since 2010, it is estimated by the King’s Fund that just to stand still; budgets must increase by 4% annually and are currently underfunded by nearly £2bn.

 

Council therefore calls for:

 

·         Government to make emergency funding available to local authorities for social care either through a dedicated grant or the current Better Care Fund of £2b for the next financial year

·         Greenwich CCG to continue at least its current funding for the social care element of the BCF in 2017/18 vital to our excellent joint emergency, integrated discharge and care and rehabilitation teams

·         Cabinet to come back in their budget proposals with a 3% social care council tax precept in 2017/18.

·         Cabinet to bring forward proposals to improve the supply of high quality residential care

·         Support the calls of the Chairs of the Health Select Committee, Communities and Local Government Select Committee and Public Accounts Committee for a sustainable cross party solution for social care.

·         Reaffirms its call for full implementation of the Care Act to cap people’s financial contribution to their lifetime social care.

Minutes:

The Mayor advised that an amendment to the motion had been published and was laid around the Chamber.

 

In moving the motion Councillor Gardner advised that there was an error to the first bullet point which should read £2b not £2m.  He continued that the Institute for Fiscal Studies was predicting a further cut, between now and 2020, of 1% and the Kings Fund advised a 4% increase, per annum, was required just to stand still. He further noted that the individual care spending cap element of the Care Act had yet to be introduced.   He continued that Greenwich had suffered a fall in the level of financial support for Care Provision and there was an overspend to the budget in order to meet the needs of a significant population in desperate need.  He continued that the Council was working with the voluntary sector to ensure that the needs of vulnerable Borough residents were addressed.  He advised that the cost of nursing homes and care homes was increasing and a number were closing which was creating additional pressure on an already fragile service.

 

Councillor Hyland seconded the motion the Leader of the Council recognised that the Government had gone some way to recognising that the social care system was in crisis but urgent attention as to how this should be resolved, nationally was required.  She continued that the Borough faced the challenge of a broken social care market, which favoured services for profit and was open to abuse and a number being embargoed, due to issues of quality, which resulted in the Council having to find alternative accommodation to meet the needs of displaced care home residents.   She advised that the 3% Council Tax would have little impact and the situation which needed to be addressed and remedied soon to adequately treat our vulnerable citizens.

 

Councillors Merrill, M. James, G. Parker and J. Smith spoke in favour of the motion and it was noted that at any one time at least two care homes within the Borough are embargoed from admitting new residents due to care quality issues.  Further, that the price of private care was prohibitive for a number of residents as well as the Borough.  That there was an issue of staff being expected to work exceptionally long hours. It was noted that the Queen Elizabeth Hospital A&E was designed to see 80 admissions per day but saw over 400 a day.  That the cost of providing Social Care was increasingly required to be met from Council budgets and Council Tax was not suitable to meet the burden of the increased costs and noted that, as a country less than 1% of GDP was spend on Social Care.

 

In presenting the amendment Councillor Hartley stated that he believed that an accord was unlikely in respect of the short term funding but agreement on longer term funding could be reached and that the amendment drew a distinction between short term funding and longer term funding beyond 2020.   That by splitting the bullet points between the short term and long term challenges gave greater clarity; also the removal of one point and the addition of two further points to ensure precept was spent on care and a call was made for the transformation project to be monitored and reviewed to ensure maximum efficiencies were in place so that the most vulnerable in our Borough received the assistance they need.   He believed that the amendment went further than the original motion, in looking at ways of addressing the shorter term funding challenges and noted that the problems within Social Care provision would not be resolved by money alone. 

 

Councillor Hartley continued that the issue of long term funding there was clearly a need for a sustainable funding solution beyond 2020 and felt that, regardless of political views, all Members shared the same commitment to ensure the services provided within the Borough reached every resident who need them and were of the highest quality. He commented that the suggestion made, during the debate, that any member of the Conservative party was trying to deliberately run down the NHS was deeply offensive and not a fitting suggestion of anyone in this Chamber.

 

Before allowing the debate to continue the Mayor reminded the Chamber that all the elected Members were representatives of the Borough and sought the best for residents but in different ways. 

 

Councillor Barwick formally seconded the amended motion, reserving her right to speak.

 

Councillor Thorpe and Fahy expressed concern that there was a fundamental flaw with the amendment and the additional funding being provided by the Government was not new money and that the amendment should be withdrawn.  That that there were no more efficiencies to be made in Hospitals or by the Greenwich Clinical Commissioning Care Group yet there was a growing demand on services.  Further, a number of independent as well as politically appointed health officials were raising concern at the current financial position of social care provision.

 

Councillor Gardner indicated that he rejected the proposed amendment which the Mayor put to the vote and the amendment was rejected.

 

Councillor Drury spoke to the motion’s serious debate and questioned why, if it was believed that the 3% social care precept to the Council Tax was not adequate to meet requirement.  If, as noted by a number of Members, 15% would not cover the reported £10m financial reduction since 2010, why was the third bullet point not amended to a higher precept that the proposed 3% to address the concerns raised during the debate. 

 

Councillors Lloyd and Hyland spoke to the motion highlighting that the Council Tax precept would have to be raised closer to 20% in order to meet the financial demand and this Council would obviously not be able to put that burden on the local tax payers.

 

Councillor Hartley responded that he had not taken personal but collective offence at the idea that any member of a main stream party would want to see people suffer.  Further, that he understood that he was called dishonest by a speaker on the motion and that he felt it was inappropriate to vent partisan frustrations on fellow Members within the Chamber.

 

In closing the debate on the motion Councillor Gardner noted that GPs were being asked to work 8am to 8pm, seven days a week so GPs who were a declining band of professionals, would be blamed for the health and social care crisis, whereas a one off, large financial investment was needed.

 

The Mayor put the motion to the vote, which was carried.

 

Resolved –

 

That this Council acknowledges that the Local Government Finance settlement allows local authorities to frontload the new social care precept, but agrees with the Health Select Committee, LGA and King’s Fund that this still leaves a major funding gap that can only make a small dent in the mounting social care crisis. Council believe that this will not only mean additional suffering for vulnerable people needing support and their families, but will have a direct impact on our equally hard pressed NHS.

 

Council praises our professionals in the Royal Borough for their continued dedication in ensuring the safe and timely discharge of hospital patients, and the on-going integrated support in the community and at home. Council notes the excellent record in Greenwich on delayed discharges due to assessments and re-enablement to care but also the increasing pressure due to the scarcity of residential care, where costs are spiralling. Council notes that while Social Care budgets have been cut by £5bn in England (£10m in Royal Borough of Greenwich's net budget) since 2010, it is estimated by the King’s Fund that just to stand still; budgets must increase by 4% annually and are currently underfunded by nearly £2bn.

 

Council therefore calls for:

 

·        Government to make emergency funding available to local authorities for social care either through a dedicated grant or the current Better Care Fund of £2b for the next financial year

·        Greenwich CCG to continue at least its current funding for the social care element of the BCF in 2017/18 vital to our excellent joint emergency, integrated discharge and care and rehabilitation teams

·        Cabinet to come back in their budget proposals with a 3% social care council tax precept in 2017/18.

·        Cabinet to bring forward proposals to improve the supply of high quality residential care

·        Support the calls of the Chairs of the Health Select Committee, Communities and Local Government Select Committee and Public Accounts Committee for a sustainable cross party solution for social care.

·        Reaffirms its call for full implementation of the Care Act to cap people’s financial contribution to their lifetime social care.

Supporting documents: