Motion - Funding Caring Services to Meet Wirral's Needs
Councillor Phil Gilchrist moved and Councillor Dave Mitchell seconded a motion submitted in accordance with Standing Order 13.
Having applied the guillotine in accordance with Standing Order 9.1, the Council did not debate this matter, and it was –
Resolved (64:0) -
Council notes that the Government has published ‘Build Back Better: Our Plan for Health and Social Care’ and has also committed to publishing a new Adult Social Care white paper by the end of the year.
Council observes that funding is expected to come from a new 1.25% Health and Social Care levy based on National Insurance contributions. This will be paid by Wirral’s residents and businesses who earn above the various thresholds.
The Local Government Association (LGA) has questioned the adequacy of the Levy to fund all of the Plan’s Adult Social Care commitments. It is anxious to know what proportion of the Levy will reach Adult Social Care beyond the three-year period covered in the Plan.
The briefing issued by the LGA on 17September 2021 says:
· it is ‘alarmed’ that the Government’s solution for tackling social care’s core pressures appears to be the use of council tax, the social care precept and long-term efficiencies; later considering this ‘deeply troubling ‘ and ‘wholly unrealistic’
· it is ‘concerned’ that ‘while the NHS is receiving funding to sort out the challenges it has here and now as well as in the future, ‘there is no funding from the Levy to address the current issues facing social care.’
· it has ‘serious concerns’ about what will happen to the funding beyond the three-year period’ and asks how ‘likely and realistic’ it is that funding for the NHS will be diverted to social care in future years.
Council, seeking the best long term solution for Wirral, endorses these concerns, observing that the Government’s plan states:
“The Government will ensure local authorities have access to sustainable funding for core budgets at the Spending Review. We expect demographic and unit cost pressures will be met through council tax, social care precept, and long-term efficiencies; the overall level of local government funding, including council tax and social care precept, will be determined in the round at the Spending Review in the normal way.” (paragraph 36)
Council tax (and therefore the precept) raises different amounts in different parts of the country and the banding of properties for Council Tax in Wirral limits the resources that can be raised by the social care precept.
Council recognises and appreciates that the LGA has concluded that:
'The Spending Review must inject genuinely new funding, direct to local government, to both stabilise the system in the short-term and enable progress to be made in tackling unmet and under-met need, investing more in prevention, improving care worker pay and better supporting unpaid carers'.
In full recognition of all these issues, Council requests that the Group Leaders write to the Chairman of the Local Government Association to support the concerns expressed and that Wirral’s Members of Parliament are made aware of this stance.