Health and Social Care in Crisis?

health-and-social-care

When I became Cabinet member for Adult Social Care in 2009 at Suffolk County Council.  The very first fact that was drummed into me by the then Director of Adult Social Service, Graham Gatehouse that there are 68,000 people over the age of 75 in Suffolk and by 2030 there will be 126,000 – Suffolk, like many shire counties across the county has an ageing population. ‘Houston we have a problem’ and each year the good and the great from Think Tanks to Royal Commissions, Parliamentary Select committees and Minsters, politicians and Councillors from across the political spectre talk about Health and Social Care integration. The solutions are out there and we don’t need years of more debate and over the coming blogs I will set out some of those small steps that need to be done to make the system work better, not big bangs just small incremental steps that I think can work and we are trying to drive forward here in Suffolk.

3% National Adult Social Care Precept rise

 

health-funding

Last year the Government surprised many with the very welcome change from Minimum Wage to National Living Wage, a pay boost for the lowest paid in our society, which has been universally welcomed.  But it also must be paid for and the LGA and the CCN spoke for the entire Care industry in saying we have to, have more money to pay for this, so the Government introduced a new Tax, the National Adult Social Care Precept set at 2% of the Council Tax or in places such as Suffolk 2% of the County Council element of the Council Tax.

You can argue the merits of local v national, property or income based taxation as much as you like but the 2% did not quite cover what we paid to our providers to fund this increase in pay.  We are, this year, asking for the additional 1% Government has allowed, taking this tax to 3% and every penny raised with be spent on Adult Social Care for our most vulnerable residents.

In Suffolk, we carefully negotiate both the rates we pay for residential and home care, ever conscious that we are the holders of your hard-earned money you pay in Council Tax and balancing that, with the need to make sure that employers pay the higher National Living Wage and can attract the staff they need to provide the vital quality of care we would want for our own families.

This year we will not be putting up the base Council Tax for the 7th year running fulfilled our manifesto commitment when we were elected in 2013.  As a Conservative administration, we are philosophically opposed to increasing Council Tax and only do so to pay for those things that we rightly must provide to the most vulnerable in our society.

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