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Politics corner

Closure of adult day centres likely despite government’s autumn statement

In last week’s autumn statement chancellor George Osborne said that councils would be able to increase council tax to pay for adult social care but Labour’s Sean Woodcock, says that this will not be enough to prevent removal of funding from Adult Day Centres in Banbury and Bicester.

Sean Woodcock says,

“The impact of removing funding from Adult Day Centres, whether in receipt of services from the County or not, will be dramatic. There are currently seven County Council Health & Wellbeing Centres affected – Abingdon, Banbury, Bicester, Didcot, Oxford, Wallingford, Wantage and the Leonard Cheshire Centre in Banbury, – which alone provide 1250 places per week, many of whose clients suffer from dementia. 70% are self-funding and half have carers who get respite from full time care as a result.

In addition there are more than 50 voluntary centres throughout the County providing services to older adults and their carers, many of whom receive financial support from the County Council and whose funding is also under threat. Closure of these facilities, together with the cuts proposed in carers services will have a devastating impact on Adult Social Care within the community.”

Banbury & Bicester Labour Party believe that we have reached the point where the cuts can no longer be defended by anyone, let alone Oxfordshire County Council. We will campaign to oppose all the cuts currently under consultation and those resulting from the Tory Government’s failed austerity plans for local government outlined in the Autumn Statement.

Oxfordshire County Council’s consultation on cuts

Oxfordshire County Council is consulting the public on the package of cuts of £50M to meet George Osborne’s programme to reduce public spending. OCC’s package was put together before the Tory Government’s Autumn Statement on 25th November, which will reduce central government ‘s grant to local authorities to zero by 2019/20.

Changes to local authority funding

In practice, this means £18Bn less money available to local authorities. Local authorities will be able to keep 100% of business rates and are free to levy a Council Tax precept of 2% to put towards the cost of Adult Social Care – two measures which the Local Government Association (LGA) estimates will raise £13.5Bn – leaving a £4.5Bn gap. Unfortunately, it doesn’t take into account the rise in demand, especially form Adult Social Care, which LGA forecast as £10Bn by 2019/20.

We won’t know until mid-December whether the 2% Council tax increase is on top of the current 1.99% cap on increases in Council Tax or if it replaces it but we do know that the Police precept will have to increase to cover the Government’s commitment to maintain police spending.

What it means for Oxfordshire County Council, esp. adult social care

The Spending Review will not change the consultation or its outcome in any way to the benefit of Oxfordshire County Council. Adult Social Care is already bearing the brunt of the 2016/17 cuts. Oxfordshire County Council’s consultation document identifies £21M (37%) of expenditure reductions affecting all aspects of the service. Over £7M of these cuts will fall on eligibility for care, services for vulnerable adults, carers’ support and Adult Day Centres.

Published on behalf of the Banbury & Bicester Labour Party

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