Press Release by Councillor Anna Bailey – 6th March 2018
Conservatives at Cambridgeshire County Council have agreed to prioritise and protect support for some of the most vulnerable people in our communities and their carers, by rejecting the three main proposals to change the way that adults with learning and physical disabilities and mental health issues are charged for social care services.
The proposals, which are due to be discussed by the Adults Committee on Thursday this week came about as a response to the Care Act, and would have brought Cambridgeshire into line with the charging policies of many other local authorities with social care responsibilities.
Conservative Chairman of the Adults Committee, Cllr Anna Bailey said: “Given that many other local authorities with social care responsibilities already levy these charges, given the changes arising from the Care Act, and given the Council’s funding situation, it was right to consider these changes and to consult residents. However, Cambridgeshire has long stated that it will prioritise support and services to the most vulnerable in our communities and following the feedback we received we are determined to continue doing just that.
“People that this would have affected have some of the highest level of social care needs; it matters little to those people and their families whether the income they have to support them with their disability comes from central Government or through locally funded support, what matters is that they can continue to live as full a life as possible.”
The proposals, due to be considered on Thursday, include taking the enhanced level of Personal Independence Payment (PIP) into account as income in the financial assessment process; changing the charging rules for people going into residential based respite care; charging people for support to run their financial affairs; and making direct debits the default method of paying social care contributions.
The last of the proposals, relating to direct debits, received a good level of support in the consultation and Conservatives will therefore support this, but will ensure that people have the option of other methods of payment too. The other three proposals will not be supported by Conservatives.
The proposed changes were predicted to make savings of around £282k in 2018/19 and the Council will now need to look at other ways of making those savings. Cllr Anna Bailey said: “The Council still has to make savings of some £82.5m over the next five years and we will need to consider where else the savings can come from. This really does highlight the need to keep pushing for a fairer funding deal for Cambridgeshire from central Government and we are delighted that Government has recognised the need to overhaul the system by launching a consultation which the Council will of course be responding to.
“We also continue to work hard on more radical reforms, such as the Neighbourhood Cares project which we are currently trialling in Soham and St Ives. We hope that Neighbourhood Cares, which is a highly localised, more human, flexible, and responsive model of delivering support, will provide better outcomes for less cost and will help the Council to get adult social care onto a sustainable footing for the future.”
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