Last week, desperate Tories put a much-too-little! much-too-late motion to East Devon District Council:
“To ask the Leader of East Devon District Council to request Sarah Wollaston, Chair of the Parliamentary Health Select Committee, to investigate the effects on Rural Communities of the STP actions and to test if Rural Proofing Policies have been correctly applied to these decisions in order to protect these communities”
As Owl noted at the time, this is somewhat rich, as their Leader, Paul Diviani, voted at Devon County Council AGAINST sending the document to the Secretary of State for Health (where this could have been highlighted in the covering submission) against the instructions of his EDDC Tory Councillors and never having consulted other Devon Tory councils he was supposed to represent. He was ably assisted in this by former EDDC Chairman Sarah Randall Johnson, who as Chair of the DCC committee, railroaded their choice of action by effectively silencing any opposition (EDW passim)
This led to the accelerated closure of community beds in Honiton and Seaton, following on from earlier closures in Axminster and Ottery St Mary.
A subsequent vote of “No Confidence” in Diviani at EDDC (brought by non-Tory councillors) was defeated by the very Tory councillors he had defied!
Now we read that “Social care postcode gap widens for older people” and that social care is breaking down in deprived areas – many of which are inevitably rural.
“… The knock-on effects for the NHS see elderly patients end up in hospital unnecessarily after accidents at home, while they cannot be discharged unless they have adequate community care in place. Among men, 30% in the poorest third of households needed help with an activity of daily living (ADL), compared with 14% in the highest income group. Among women, the need for such help was 30% among the poorest third and 20% in the highest third.
There is a growing army of unpaid helpers, such as family and friends, propping up the system. Around two-thirds of adults aged 65 and over, who had received help for daily activities in the past month, had only received this from unpaid helpers, the figures revealed.
Spending on adult social care by local authorities fell from £18.4bn in 2009-10 to just under £17bn in 2015-16, according to the respected King’s Fund. It represents a real-terms cut of 8%. It estimates there will be an estimated social care funding gap of £2.1bn by 2019-20.
While an extra £2bn was provided for social care over two years, a huge gap remains after the latest budget failed to address the issue. Theresa May was forced to abandon plans to ask the elderly to help pay for social care through the value of their homes, after it was blamed for contributing to her disastrous election result. The government has promised to bring forward some new proposals by the summer, but many Tory MPs and Conservative-run councils are desperate for faster action.
Ministers have dropped plans to put a cap on care costs by 2020 – a measure proposed by Sir Andrew Dilnot’s review of social care and backed by David Cameron when he was prime minister.
Izzi Seccombe, the Tory chair of the Local Government Association’s community wellbeing board, said: “Social care need is greater in more deprived areas and this, in turn, places those councils under significant financial pressures. Allowing councils to increase council tax to pay for social care, while helpful in some areas, is of limited use in poorer areas because their weaker tax base means they are less able to raise funds.
“In more deprived areas there is also likely to be a higher number of people who rely on councils to pay for their care. This, in turn, puts even more pressure on the local authority.
“If we are to bridge the inequality gap in social care, we need long-term sustainable funding for the sector. It was hugely disappointing that the chancellor found money for the NHS but nothing for adult social care in the autumn budget. We estimate adult social care faces an annual funding gap of £2.3bn by 2020.”
Simon Bottery, from the King’s Fund, said: “We know that need will be higher in the most deprived areas – people get ill earlier and have higher levels of disability, and carry that through into social care need.
“We also know that the councils that have the greater need to spend are, on average, raising less money through the precept [earmarked for funding social care].”