Oldham’s Liberal Democrats have slammed Conservative ministers after research from the Conservative dominated County Councils’ Network revealed that the governments planned social care reforms would leave a £10 billion funding gap in the sector. Government Ministers had previously said that local councils would have to find their own ways to raise funds.
Oldham’s Liberal Democrat Leader councillor Howard Sykes MBE said: “While Conservative MPs worry about who the next Prime Minister will be, the real issues like social care funding are being side-lined. The government is telling councils to cover the costs when everyone knows the money isn’t there. All the while, the social care sector is haemorrhaging staff and the government won’t even listen to their own Conservative colleagues in local government.”
In the wake of the pandemic and other pressures on social care, experts in the sector anticipate that £25.5 billion will be needed by 2032 but the government has only pledged £15.6 billion.
Councillor Sykes said, “It’s bad enough that the government is leaving such a huge shortfall and is expecting inflation busting council tax rises to plug it, but there is also the issue of getting the money the government has committed to into the frontline services where it is needed.”
Currently the government proposal is to fund social care providers indirectly, with the money going through NHS trusts. What assurances will we get that the money will fund the local services that our residents need? I suspect this will become a bureaucratic black hole and it will be our residents will pay higher taxes and lose out on services.”