25% of B&NES Care homes have a CQC rating of requires improvement or inadequate according to an Independent Age report published on 6th March. Although this is an improvement on last year, B&NES are still the second worst performer in the South West.
Liberal Democrat Health Spokesperson Judith Jolly said:
“The Tories' sustained cuts to local government funding is contributing to the fall in standards of care, as is their failure to publish the Social Care Green Paper.
Nick Coates, Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate for North East Somerset and also a Care Home trustee, said:
“This has just not had the focus it needs and deserves. Two years ago the Government promised a Green Paper by Summer 2017. Then after the General Election they set up an expert panel. The panel have reported and a Green Paper should have been produced soon after. I was at a Social Care conference last Autumn and Caroline Dinenage, the Minister, promised this by December, but still we wait.
“I know this is a difficult issue but for the residents of our homes and those receiving care elsewhere, and for their families, this is an immediate problem. The Government have required Local authorities to be self-funding from 2020 but social care now makes up the vast majority of spending. In 2019/20 in B&NES this is projected to represent 82% of the Council’s income. As a result spending on Social Care is squeezed.”
LGA research published on 6 March says “Raising council tax has never been the answer to fixing our chronically underfunded social care system.”
The Information Age report also says that “At the heart of this crisis is the chronic underfunding of the system with social care spending shrinking by £7 billion since 2010. Local authorities are planning to push through social care cuts of £700m in 2018/19 - nearly 5% of their total budget - in order to balance their books.”
Nick Coates commented:
“The Liberal Democrats are ready and willing to challenge the problems in social care. We will transform the care older people receive and reduce the inequality in provision. We will put a penny in the pound on income tax to directly invest in social care to reverse the deterioration in care."
Judith Jolly, talking about the lack of a funding green paper, added:
“For months the Liberal Democrats have been calling on the Conservative Government to publish the Social Care Green Paper so that we can begin to address this crisis. But instead the Tories have delayed and delayed this since the summer of 2017 as they fail to address the ballooning funding gap for adult social care.”