The Oldham Liberal Democrats have described the Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s recent Spending Review as “a failure to provide” money needed to build back better public services and a greener Britain after the Covid-19 pandemic.
Responding to the disappointing review, Liberal Democrat Group Leader, Councillor Howard Sykes MBE, said: “The Chancellor squandered this opportunity to properly support local authorities in these most-troubling times with more finance, and to invest in the health and social care sector and in combatting climate change to help make Britain better after Covid-19.
“The Government has failed yet again to address the long-term challenge of sustainable funding for adult social care. The financial responsibility for social care has once again been shifted onto local taxpayers and councils have been given ‘permission’ to raise council tax well above inflation to fund this essential service,” added Councillor Sykes.
In the review, the government ‘failed to provide’
- Any extra funding for councils to carry out more public health work. The Association of Directors of Public Health described this as “completely incomprehensible”. The Oldham Liberal Democrats believe that it is crazy for any Government not to increase the public health grant during a major pandemic.
- The billions of pounds needed to fill the funding gap in social care. The government only pledged £300 million more as new funding both children’s and adult social care. The Liberal Democrats are gravely concerned that this will mean that Councils, like Oldham, will be forced to increase the social care precept of Council Tax to try to make up a small part of the shortfall.
- Any funding to Councils to improve public sector pay, especially for those workers who have been working so hard in the front line against Covid-19. Workers who are earning under £24,000 per year will receive £250 extra, but even this is not funded by government meaning more cuts elsewhere to services.
- Anywhere near enough money to deliver projects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as part of a £100 billion investment programme in infrastructure
- Councils with access to funds from the government’s “Levelling up” fund, without first getting sign off from local MPs, indicating a lack of trust by government in the judgement of Councils as to what is a local priority need.