The Warwickshire Liberal Democrats have released their budget proposals for the County Council. With funding from the Conservative Government being cut again, the Lib Dems are fighting to maintain vital services and protecting the community whilst looking to save money by innovation and sharing resources.
A BETTER WAY FOR WARWICKSHIRE
Warwickshire County Council meets on Thursday this week to decide its 2017-2020 budget and medium term financial plan, and to set its strategic direction for the next three years.
In a “hung” council with no overall majority, it’s necessary for two or more of the political groups to come together to ensure that a budget can be passed.
The Liberal Democrat Group has clear strategic and financial objectives, which it is looking for the other groups to support. These are focussed on what we consider to be the primary responsibilities of the Council, which are to invest in and protect our youngest and most vulnerable citizens, and to provide dignity and support for older citizens by investing in adult social care and its integration with health services. A better way for Warwickshire.
Two years ago Lib Dems led the way with the introduction of the ‘Smart Start’ programme, focussed on 0-5 year old children and their families, which has delivered a powerful evidence base and innovative solutions for the delivery of better outcomes for children and families across Warwickshire. We now want to see this programme fully integrated into the redesign of future services for children and families. In the medium term this will deliver better services at lower cost, but we cannot accept the speed and depth of budget cuts in this area proposed by both Conservatives and Labour.
In adult social care, we are clear that now is time to “grasp the nettle” in terms of maximising the funding available to sustain and transform our services. We want the Council to take the opportunity offered by central government to raise the council tax precept by an extra 1% in both 2017/18 and 2018/19 compared with the plans put forward by the Conservative administration.
This will provide an extra cash injection of £7.5 million into adult social care services over the next two years. It will ensure that the new model of integrated health and social care in Warwickshire, which the whole Council is being asked to back, can be delivered faster and more securely, taking pressure off severely stretched NHS budgets, and helping people to live independent lives for longer.
Cllr Jerry Roodhouse, Lib Dem Group Leader, said:
“We’re amazed that the Conservative leader Izzi Seccombe, who has been speaking out nationally for many months for better funding for adult social care, seems prepared to turn down this opportunity offered by her own Government.
“While it’s nowhere near enough to solve the overall funding crisis, an extra £7.5 million of ring-fenced money over the next two years would make a massive difference.”
- Warwickshire’s ‘Smart Start’ programme has been led by Lib Dem county councillor Jerry Roodhouse. http://www.warwickshire.gov.uk/smartstart.
- Nationally and locally, Liberal Democrats are leading the fight to get fair funding for Adult Social Care. At Westminster, Lib Dem former Health Minister Norman Lamb MP is co-ordinating a cross-party group of more than 20 MPs calling on the government to find a long-term solution to the crisis in health and social care funding. http://services.parliament.uk/bills/2015-16/nationalhealthserviceandsocialcarecommission.html.
- Warwickshire’s draft One Organisational Plan 2020 (gl/LIygaj) predicts 100% increases in over-85’s and people with severe/moderate needs between 2010 and 2030. Expenditure on adult social care will need to rise by 37% between 2010 and 2020 to keep pace with pressures.
- The Conservative leader of the council, Cllr Izzi Seccombe, is the national chair of the Community Wellbeing Board of the Local Government Association. In this role she has consistently spoken out against the Government’s inadequate funding of adult social care.
- The Secretary of State for Communities & Local government Sajid Javid MP, announced in December 2016 that local councils would be allowed to increase the dedicated social care precept by up to 3% in 2017/18 and 2018/19, provided that the total increase over 3 years was not more than 6%.
- An extra 1% on council tax would mean an extra 24p a week for a Band D property in Warwickshire.