Labour Shadow Spokesperson for Adult Care, Cllr Sarah Adams has called on the Conservative administration on Suffolk County Council to think again over the punitive cuts of £12m to the Adult and Community care budget that will be presented to the Council’s Scrutiny Committee on Thursday 23rd November.
Budget Scrutiny papers show that the bulk of the Council's cuts next year will fall on care purchasing. This means that older people will undoubtedly be left to fend for themselves in their old age as the Council looks to ‘mitigate care purchasing demand increases’, or in plain English cut services for older people.
With a 3% rise in Council Tax to be used for social care funding the Labour Group believes that this cut in funding is particularly outrageous. The precept is to enable councils to top up services to older people not to enable further cuts to take place.
Sarah Adams said “A £12m cut to Adult Care Services will undermine Suffolk County Council’s ability to deliver care provision. The details around the delivery of the service cuts is outrageously scant. The report states the strategy for Social care will be based on ‘reducing the number of people who need local authority funded care […by…] seeking reductions in the number of people who need care’. This is simply meaningless and is not a budget cutting strategy, it is nonsensical gibberish.”
She added; “The Social Care council tax rise has been put in place to enable councils to meet the increased demand of an aging population. The proposed 3% rise for 2018/19 is the third rise in as many years. 8% in three years provides SCC with an additional £42m to meet the needs of Suffolk’s aging population. This money is not being paid by Suffolk residents so that Suffolk County Council can reduce how much it is actually paying to support our older residents.”
Other cuts to the Adult Community Services budget include a £1m cut to Housing Support Services. These services include providing home adaptations to ensure that people are able to live at home for much longer thereby saving the council money in the long run. It is another of these short-term cuts that will cost the council in the long term.