The Chancellor's announcement in yesterday’s Budget that there would be a green paper later this year on the funding of Adult Social Care was long overdue. This is surprising given that up and to a couple of months ago then government were still denying there was any kind of funding crisis.
After six years of cuts to councils that provide Social Care it’s hardly surprising there is a crisis. When this lack of funding is coupled with the UK’s growing aging population it is no wonder we are where we are now with Councils’ unable to cope and provide the sort of services needed for people be to looked after in either their own homes or in specialist nursing homes. This has consequently put a massive pressure on to the NHS with people having to remain in hospital at the cost of £2,000+ a day… Even though they are medically fit to go home where they can be supported for a fraction of the cost.
The Chancellor’s announcement of an extra billion pounds for this financial year is also welcome, but goes nowhere near to make up even the most optimistic estimates of the current shortfall so increased pressures are certain to remain.
In Northamptonshire the problem with Social Care is well known and is worse than many other places. It will be vital to see how much extra money will be allocated to us locally and I look forward to hearing those details, although one of the problems locally is the poor relationship between the NHS and the County Council with the Council often blaming the NHS for each other’s problems.
Hopefully the green paper when it is released will propose some kind of integration between the two sectors because that is the only real answer and while the government continue to play off councils against the NHS in a mad scramble to protect their own budgets, we will be no further forward.
Mick Scrimshaw is the Leader of the Labour Group at Kettering Borough Council, the Shadow Cabinet Member for Finance at Northamptonshire County Council. He has a public record of standing up for Kettering as a County Councillor for the Northall division in Kettering, Northants and since May 2015, a Borough Councillor for the William Knibb ward. He is a keen cyclist and also runs a family business with his wife.