Tory Social Care proposals could have devastating consequences for families in Brent

The Conservative Party’s “reckless” manifesto pledge could have devastating consequences for families in Brent. Sir Andrew Dilnot, a leading national expert who provided an independent report to the Government on social care has described the Tory proposals as the biggest stealth tax in history. Despite government previously saying they would consult with the public on the best way forward, this high-cost policy has come out of the blue. While many families from many backgrounds will be affected, South Asian communities, who often live together across generations, could be hit particularly hard, with Tory proposals leaving them at risk of becoming homeless.

At present, social care is means tested and the value of the property that people are living in is not taken into account as part of that calculation. The proposal announced in Theresa May’s Conservative manifesto will include the value of a person’s home. If this damaging policy goes ahead, equity in the family home will be eaten into and after the cared for individual passes away, the home will have to be sold. As too many families know, the costs of caring for someone with dementia can be catastrophic and with people living longer and dementia prevalence rising, more people will need social care for longer.

These proposals have not been properly thought through. They raise more questions, cause more problems and quite simply fail to deliver much needed solutions for the social care crisis. What happens if there is a partner still living in the property when the person receiving social care passes away? Will they have to be thrown out of their own home so the remaining social care bill can be paid? Even if the issue of property and living partners is resolved by delaying the debt payment until they have passed away too, the policies outlined in the manifesto will cause devastation to large sections of the Brent population and South Asian communities in particular.

In Brent and other areas, South Asian communities choose to live in the same family home and it is not uncommon for up to four generations of a family to be living in the same property. The housing crisis has also meant that families are even choosing to build and expand their home and live together rather than enter the housing market. It is ironic that the section of the manifesto that this proposal appears in is under the heading ‘a restored contract between the generations’ as their approach completely ignores the intergenerational dependencies of families who strive to care for each other.

When elderly relatives pass away after receiving social care, their children could find themselves homeless. The Tories say that families will be able to keep £100,000 of equity in the family home. The average price of a property in Brent is £535,803 meaning that their children will have to try and find on average £435,000 to try and keep their family home.

On top of bringing the social care system to the brink of collapse over the last seven years, the current Tory thinking looks to create even more problems rather than solutions to the crisis.

Direct Payments Information – 16th December 11am to 3pm

independent wheelchair userPenderels Trust, who support independent living for adult social care users is inviting anyone who receives a Direct Payment or is thinking of switching to the scheme to join them at Brent Civic Centre on 16th December from 11am to 3pm to find out about they help they offer.

Penderels Trust will be at the civic centre to discuss about any issues or concerns you may have about using Direct Payments and allow you to meet members of the team who support people in the borough.

They will be happy to answer your questions and provide you with more information about:

  • Direct Payment set up support
  • employing and managing staff
  • choosing and using a care agency
  • managing your finances
  • online document centre
  • payroll service.

The team will be in the ground floor entrance area from 11am to 3pm of the civic centre, for more information email brent@penderelstrust.org.uk or call 020 8733 8224.

London Social Care Leaders warn Osborne about dangers of further cuts to local councils

I have united with Labour social care leads across London to warn the Chancellor George Osborne about the consequences of further cuts to Council budgets. In a joint letter to the Treasury, we have highlighted the difficulty Councils face in delivering essential services and also the knock on impact on the NHS if the Government’s planned cuts to local authorities go ahead.

The Government recently announced that funding to councils will be cut by 30 per cent over the next four years. With adult social care making up a third of Council budgets, there will inevitably be an impact on care services.

Adult Social Care lead members from London local authorities have written to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, telling him:

“A 30 per cent to councils over the next four years means, in all likelihood, a very significant impact on adult social care services. This puts at severe risk our ability to fund elderly residents who are supported in the community instead of occupying a hospital bed, which typically costs the public purse three times the amount.”

Examples of the services likely to be impacted in the letter include: In-home care for elderly residents such as help with bathing, respite services for carers and support for young people with disabilities as they become adults.

We also point out that the cuts to local authorities in the capital since 2010 have been greater than the national average, deepening our concern.

We also highlight the fact that cuts to adult social care threaten the supposedly protected NHS:

“The NHS is already experiencing an enormous amount of strain and with winter approaching, the pressure on GPs and emergency departments is already beginning to increase.

“As social care risks being stripped back to the barest of necessities, this will further undermine and increase strain on our much loved national institution.

“The health service will face an increased workload that only the substantial level of increases in health spending currently unavailable would be able to meet.”

The full list of signatories is:

Cllr Angie Bean                                   London Borough of Waltham Forest

Cllr Chris Best                                     London Borough of Lewisham

Cllr Janet Burgess                              London Borough of Islington

Cllr Alev Cazimoglu                            London Borough of Enfield

Cllr Stephanie Cryan                          London Borough of Southwark

Cllr David Gardner                              Royal Borough of Greenwich

Cllr Sally Gimson                                London Borough of Camden

Cllr Krupesh Hirani                              London Borough of Brent

Cllr Kamaljit Kaur                                London Borough of Hounslow

Cllr Vivienne Lukey                             London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham

Cllr Caroline Cooper-Marbiah           London Borough of Merton

Cllr Jonathan McShane                      London Borough of Hackney

Cllr Mark Santos                                 London Borough of Redbridge

Cllr Hitesh Tailor                                 London Borough of Ealing ‎

Cllr Jackie Meldrum                           London Borough of Lambeth

Cllr Anne Whitehead                           London Borough of Harrow

Cllr Amy Whitelock-Gibbs ‎                 London Borough of Tower Hamlets

Cllr Louisa Woodley                            London Borough of Croydon

Cllr Maureen Worby                           London Borough of Barking and Dagenham

You can read the full letter here LINK

 

Brent Transitions Service highlighted as a national success

In the Government’s latest Disability and Health Employment Strategy, Brent’s transitions service has been quoted as an exemplar case study example.

Brent Transitions

I have also previously expressed my pride in the service which falls under my responsibility as Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care for here – LINK

£907 million funding gap for London Councils projected within five years

New analysis has revealed that there is a projected £907 million funding gap in London Council budgets by 2018 due to social care pressures.

Indeed Brent’s own projections show that there is a £45 million gap due to care pressures by 2020. The projections are accurately mapped out and take into consideration factors such as, cuts to Council budgets, the rise in the elderly population, the fact that younger and working age disabled people are living longer with long-term conditions too.

The one element where there is cost uncertainty is in charges. Social care provision is means-tested and with rising levels of poverty and a squeeze on other disability and housing benefits, we may find that more will be provided with free or heavily subsidised services because of the nature of means-testing.

budget
budget (Photo credit: The Survival Woman)

London Councils currently spend a third of their budgets on social care. The Local Government Association (LGA) in a separate report in June last year warned that without reform, the public can expect a cut of 90% of funding in popular services such as libraries and leisure centres.

Indeed in the first budget of the current Council administration the two significant areas of overspend and pressure on top of the front loaded cuts to Brent Council were adult social care and children in care. Unfortunately this received about zero attention though.

The report provides a great case for wholesale health and social care integration and more support to local authorities. You can read the full report here LINK