Social care rises are double jeopardy for residents

The majority of Oldham Borough residents will be horrified that council tax, however the percentages are segmented, will be rising by 3.99% this year after yet another underfunded settlement from a government that is clueless about Oldham and its people, says Oldham Liberal Democrat finance lead Chris Gloster.

He said: “The increase of 2% for adult social care is double jeopardy. The prime minister appears intent upon pushing the 1% national insurance increase to fund adult social care, so as pay in the pocket decreases, costs are increasing, and spiralling out of control, with inflation currently sitting in excess of 5%.

“Funding adult social care through council tax in the first place is a major problem. The government has failed, year on year, to create a settlement for social care, and have off-loaded responsibility on to local councils. That massively increases inequality, especially for an area like Oldham which has a low Council tax base and a high proportion of people needing adult social care. It’s just another way in which the pretence of “levelling up” is shown to be empty words and a failure to deliver for the country’s former industrial heartlands like Oldham.

“This Tory government and Labour Council just does not get it.

“Council tax last year in Westminster was £827.56; for an equivalent banded property in Oldham it was £1672.92, and now we can expect 3.99% on top of that, when all around we see daily increases in food, gas, electric, rent, travel and a whole host of other increases. The old adage of eat or heat – worrying enough – is soon to be replaced with the phrase ‘survive’, because make no mistake, even hard working Oldham residents will struggle to survive, as prices outstrip pay.

“Speaking to people in the doorstep, as we do all year round, not just at election time, the complaints are always similar: state of roads and footpaths, unclean streets, lack of services especially around environmental issues, and cost of council tax for which they can see only decreased services year on year, these are the priorities that matter most to Oldham people.

“Despite these increasing costs, the council administration are determined to push on with major capital projects, which although partly grant funded, will have a significant demand upon council borrowing that is of great concern to the Liberal Democrat opposition.

“We have seen the failure of numerous vanity projects over the years and quite rightly challenge the administration with regards to the latest projects, Spindles, Eco Park, Tommyfield and more which if they exceed budget, as every other project has done, or failed to be delivered as described, the effect that this will have on the Borough will be catastrophic.

“The 3.99% rise is fait accompli that will impact upon many Oldham homes. However the administration needs to understand that the Oldham public are now stretched beyond the limit in many cases.”

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