No Joe it’s not the fault of the people of Liverpool that our City is filthy

Joe Anderson says ‘Too many people in Liverpool don’t care about their city’

Leader says city is one of the worst for people dumping, littering and lacking any pride in where they live

Liverpool Echo Tuesday 14th August

In the surreal alternative world of Mayor Anderson, he does nothing wrong and its always someone else’s fault when things go wrong. We know that. It’s the fault of the Coalition, the Liberal Democrats, Me, Manchester, The Government, Business people who don’t care, The Tories. Someone else always someone else.

But he sank to a new low last week when he said things which led to the headline above in the Liverpool Echo. So, let me make known my opinion on this matter. Liverpool people are not dirtier, more lacking in civic pride or less caring than those who live in other parts of the Country. They care more for their City and their community than most other places in the World never mind in the UK. Yes, there are some filthy people here. Yes, dropping litter is disgraceful and some people really don’t care about the effect they make on the environment that they live in. But I do not believe that this number is greater than in other areas.

No Mayor Anderson if you want to see what is going wrong and who is to blame the best place to look is in your mirror when you have a shave in the morning. Quite frankly you are going about keeping our City clean in precisely the wrong way.

Mistake One is to employ Kingdom. This private sector ‘army’ sends out exactly the wrong message to the people of Liverpool and those who visit us. Pouncing on the unwary who have wrongly dropped a fag end or a sweet paper so that they can issue a fixed penalty they are failing to engage people in a discussion of their actions.

There is a reason for that. The council makes a profit from taking on easy targets. Just look at the answers to the questions I asked at the July Council meeting:

  • 33 629 (FPNs) issued between the dates 01/03/2017 to 30/06/2018
  • 93 FPNs issued for dog fouling.
  • The surplus from the Kingdom Contract for 2017/18 was £309,206

Mistake Two is to concentrate on the wrong things. Education not retribution is the answer to dealing with the vast majority of people who drop litter. We need to engage children so they pick up the right habits; work with communities to help them educate people at all levels. We also need to use the intelligence of local people to be able to concentrate our efforts on known hot spots where people dump stuff on a big or small scale.

Mistake 3 is to ignore the day to day work that needs to be done. In parts of the city there are fewer bins than there used to be. Those bins that exists are not emptied with sufficient regularity. We all know places where the bin is full and then people leave bags and detritus around their base which remains there often for days.

Mistake 4 is not to concentrate on the people who cause major problems – the people who illegally dump large amounts of stuff. Scenes like this are not tackled properly:

Fly tipping

A picture of fly tipping in Norris Green. Fly tippers often dump stuff which is not only unsightly but dangerous including chemicals and asbestos

Fly tipping is a much greater problem than minor littering offences but in Liverpool fly tippers, often linked to organised crime, fly tip with out and fear of being caught. Look at these other answers which came at the council meeting in July:

  • There have been 2 prosecutions in 2017 and 2 prosecutions in 2018 for offences against section 33 Environmental protection Act 1990 (fly tipping).
  • All 4 prosecutions were successful.

So, in Joe’s Liverpool the priorities are clear. 33,000+ fixed penalty notices against the little guys and 4 prosecutions against the big guys.

So instead of blaming the people of Liverpool for his own inadequacies the Mayor needs to consider changes in the way that the Council works. We believe that the priorities should be:

  1. Establish a task group with the environment agency and Police to tackle criminal fly tipping.
  2. Work with schools, communities and the media to promote greater concern for our environment and develop community led anti-filth strategies including targeting bad dog owners.
  3. Only fine people who are persistent or gross offenders of littering on our streets.

We all want a cleaner City and we all despise those who fail to respect the community that they live in. We need real action to deal with these problems and not buck passing.

Advertisements
Posted in Liverpool Politics | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

40 PER CENT INCREASE IN TYPE 2 DIABETES IN CHILDREN

Obesity-in-Children

Too many children look like this because they eat too many of this type of product and drink too much sugary drinks. Burgers and chips need to be treats and not part of a staple diet

The number of children and young people being treated for Type 2 diabetes, which is normally only seen in adults and often linked to obesity, has soared by around 40 per cent in just four years to more than 700 cases. These figures underline the critical need to urgently tackle the childhood obesity crisis.

While not every case of Type 2 diabetes is as a result of being overweight and obese, it is the single greatest risk factor.

According to latest figures for 2016/17 from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, 715 children and young people under the age of 25 received care for Type 2 diabetes from Paediatric Diabetes Units in England and Wales, of which 78.6 per cent were also obese.

The latest data shows an increase of 41 per cent on the 507 cases from 2013/14.

However, as these figures only relate to those treated in paediatric practice, and not for example, primary care, the actual number of young people with Type 2 diabetes is likely to be even higher.

Type 2 diabetes can lead to a range of serious health problems such as blindness, heart disease, kidney failure and lower limb amputation.

Unlike Type 1 diabetes, Type 2 is largely preventable and is closely linked to lifestyle, such as unhealthy eating or lack of exercise.

The first cases of Type 2 diabetes in children were diagnosed in overweight girls of Asian ethnic origin in 2000 and first reported in white adolescents in 2002.

Councils also say more needs to be done to reach out to black and minority ethnic groups, where there is a disproportionately higher number of children and young people with Type 2 diabetes. Nearly half of those receiving care for the condition from Paediatric Diabetes Units were black or Asian.

Earlier this year, the LGA revealed that 22,000 children are classed as severely obese – the most overweight scale – when they leave primary school.

It says as a minimum, the Government should reverse the £600 million cut to councils’ public health funding, which is used to invest in fighting obesity. Councils are also calling for specialised support for the most seriously obese children.

These figures are a sad indictment of how we have collectively failed as a society to tackle childhood obesity, one of the biggest health challenges we face.

Type 2 diabetes typically develops in adults over the age of 40, so while still rare in children, it is extremely worrying that we are seeing more young people develop the condition.

Although there are a number of risk factors for Type 2 diabetes, some of which are out of our control, one of the most important risk factors is being overweight or obese, which we can do something about.

The Government’s childhood obesity plan sets out bold ambitions to halve the number of obese children by 2030, but we need urgent action now. Type 2 diabetes can be a lifelong debilitating illness and these figures will only multiply if we delay.

Councils with their public health responsibilities are on the frontline fighting obesity but for this to work effectively they need to be properly resourced. Cutting their public health funding is short-sighted and undermines any attempt to help our children live healthy and fulfilling lives.

But we must not forget the crucial role that parents have in preventing childhood obesity. It is all too easy to wave the finger at mums and dads of obese children and accuse them of being poor parents and not knowing or not caring what their children eat and drink. That is undoubtedly true in some cases but in others Mums and Dads are having to make very difficult choices. Too often, especially during school holidays, parents cannot afford proper food. They make sure that children have full stomachs by buying food that is high in sugar, salt and fats.

To tackle the obesity epidemic in children needs concerted actions from parents; schools, councils; Public Health England and the Government. Our joint failure to act strongly enough on this vital issue affecting children today, the adults they will become and the costs on the NHS for decades is a disgrace. We must all do better.

Posted in Public Health | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Humbled by the experiences in the tsunami of the Mayor of Galle in Sri Lanka

GalleMayor

I was pleased to be able to take Cllr Ismail, the former Mayor of Galle in Sri Lanka, and his wife to meet the Lord Mayor of Liverpool, Cllr Christine Banks. He was accompanied by Bill Hampson, Director of the Epiphany Trust which provided a great deal of help after the tsunami struck in 2004

Yesterday it was my privilege to host a visit by Cllr Arrif Ismail, the former Mayor of Galle in Sri Lanka to Liverpool. The trip including a visit to meet the Lord Mayor of Liverpool, Cllr Christine Banks. Both the Lord Mayor and I are striplings compared to the 37 years that Cllr Ismail has spent on the Council. Crucially, he was the Mayor of the fateful day, Boxing Day 2004 when the tsunami devastated his town.

Devastation is not an overstatement. In 20 minutes 1,200 were killed and when their bodies were rescued the mortuaries could not cope and people lay in corridors until people could claim them. In some cases, there was no-one left to claim the bodies. Half the houses in the Town were destroyed; the Town Hall; the Cricket Ground, the market; the water and sewage services; the business centre; the commercial centre all gone in just 20 minutes.

What was left was a foul mixture of sewage; sludge; sand; death debris, dangerous structures. What was missing was access to roads with both the main roads into the town washed away; electricity; clean water; shelter for the homeless; food; clothes; beds. In fact, for more than half the population there was no infrastructure left and no easy way of getting relief services in.

Cllr Ismail told us what happened next as the desperation turned to help with foreign government and aid beginning to get to the town within days. The most urgent need was fresh water which was supplied by a foreign navy using bowsers supplied by the Mayr. As Cllr Ismail said, “you can survive for a little while without food but only hours without water. Unless you can clean yourself, infectious diseases can move in quickly. Tents went iup, food came in, the dead were buried.

Then came the start of the regeneration process. Cllr Ismail was full of gratitude for the money and practical support that came from all over the globe but especially the UK and Liverpool. Liverpool alone raised more than £100,000 with donations from individuals, schools and a huge concert at the Philharmonic. As Ken Dodd was a volunteer it went on for longer than it was billed for!!

But he also brought lessons that we should all listen to. He believes that up to 40% of donated money which goes to central governments gets ‘lost’ before it can be put to the good uses that the donors wanted. His solution is simple and one that I would support. Give the money direct to local government. It’s the local council leaders that know what needs doing and create the partnerships and delivery mechanisms that can spend the money on the right stuff and can do it efficiently.

The government to government spend also just deals with the big things. So big facilities were created such as schools and hospitals but there was no money to fit them out. A school is no use without desk; computers and other basic equipment. That is where Liverpool’s money came in. Much of it went to the Epiphany Trust whose director, Bill Hampson, is a friend of mine. The Trust’s patron Is Lord Alton who is passionate about the effective use of aid money. They bought the smaller things which make the big things work. They spent the money in partnership with the Mayor and Council who knew intimately where the gaps were.

Of course, there is still much to be done. Not all the infrastructure is yet back in place. Some things and especially the lives of the 1,200, can ever be replaced. Some things have had to be reinvented. People were left with no title deeds to their land and the central registry in the Town Hall had been demolished. People had savings in the bank but their bank books were lost; the bank was destroyed and the Bank Manager who could have proved their case was dead. But with time these things were sorted

But I was heartened by two things about this story:

Firstly, as the Lord Mayor reminded us Liverpool is a very generous city. We are not the richest city but we have the richest heart. Despite our own problems we always give generously when a greater need comes up.

Secondly, I was heartened by the role of the Mayor and his Council. He did despair for a while then just rolled up his sleeves and got on with the job of rebuilding his town. His house was saved although the tsunami came right up to his veranda before receding.

I have never been tested in the way that he was. However, I am confident that our Council will always respond to the needs of our citizens whatever the circumstances that we face. As in Sri Lanka we could do more if the Government got out of the way and allowed us to do what is right for our City.

I hope to visit Sri Lanka next year and will certainly visit Galle. If so I hope I can capture some of the calmness and wisdom of the council and its politicians and bring it back with me to help with the regeneration of our own City

Posted in International Activity | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Its not the politicians and Bureaucrats of Brussels I fear but the ones in London!

Fox

In some ways the picture above says it all. In London there is an elite, a ruling class, which manipulates the whole Country for its own advantage.

I know this in two ways but let me deal with Brexit as the first one. Let’s judge people not by what they say but by what they do:

Leading advocates for Brexit have done the following things:

  • Lord Lawson has applied for a French Residency Permit
  • Jacob Rees Mogg has set up a finance fund based in Eire
  • James Dyson has moved his manufacturing base outside the UK and says that leaving the EU will enable us to reduce those pesky health and safety laws
  • Sir Jim Ratcliffe (the Country’s richest man) is moving to Monaco.

Why do they do this? Well Neil Luckham writing in an online magazine called Quora sums up their position in a nutshell,

“A significant subset of the wealthy are best suited to making themselves more wealthy in a deregulated business environment, especially if it also has strong property laws and no social legal system (so only the wealthy can afford the lawyers).

Such an environment allows them to exploit who they want, move their money to secretive low-tax regimes, and protect their business with a wall of legal barriers, including, if necessary, a private army (sorry, “security team”).

The rich can make money out of change. It doesn’t bother them whether or not society as a whole or even the UK as a whole suffers by this because they are only looking after their own bit of society – themselves and their families. They want us to have a hard Brexit because it will enable them to take advantage of a lack of regulations to exploit the rest of us, move their money and their tax liability where they want and ensure that working and living conditions are reduced for the rest of us.

These are the people that control our Country both in Parliament and in the economy. If they don’t live abroad they are a denizen of the dark places of Westminster, Whitehall and the City of London.

Meanwhile Parliament has no answer to them the chief apologist for Brexit is Boy Corbyn. He talks about a jobs boost Brexit. There is no such thing. Already we have moved from being the fastest growing economy in the EU to being the second worst growing economy in Europe. Our balance of payments is suffering as our manufacturing has gone past the immediate boost of the devaluation of the £ into a stasis caused by indecision.

Overseas investment as well as UK investment in manufacturing and services has plummeted. The international giants such as car makers are delaying investment decisions and laying off staff. There have already been lay offs and early pensions at both JLR and Vauxhall in Ellesmere Port where the loss of well paid jobs will have a ripple effect into the wider economy.

The argument from parts of Labour is that they don’t want to be in ‘the single market’ but ‘a single market’. So, let’s leave the certainty of trading to end up with a minimum of three years negotiations which will bring us back to a worse position than we are in now but will cause havoc in the meantime. Of course, that is not the argument from all the Labour Party because their policy seems to vary on whether there is a r in the month or not|!

You want more money for the NHS; schools, universities and roads etc, etc? I do as well but we will not get that inside the shrinking economy which May and Corbyn will deliver for us. Corbyn believes that the EU is a capitalist conspiracy to defeat the workers. Let him see what will happen in this Country when we have lost the protection of employment; safety and environment laws which will be stripped ruthlessly away. This was summed up perfectly by Cllr Kay Davies who until last Thursday was a Labour councillor in Liverpool but now sits as an Independent. She said, “May is a toxic, dysfunctional leader and so is Corbyn”.

With honourable exceptions Parliament has failed the Country. The role of Parliament is to introduce laws which are based on facts and reality and then introduced through the prism of political belief as voted on by the electorate. What we have seen is advanced demagoguery. We have seen the London elite more determined than ever to hang on to their own power and positions to feather their own nests.

The Parliamentary debate on BREXIT has not been about the future of the UK but who holds the top positions inside Her Majesty’s Government and in Her Majesty’s Opposition. The rest of the Country has been a prisoner as the warring factions conduct their own ‘Battle of the Roses’.

If I turn to a wider point than Brexit I must tell you that in my opinion, “it was ever thus”. During all my 51 years in politics I have seen a remorseless movement of power; influence; employment and security down to London and the South East. I don’t, of course, believe that the vast majority of people who live in the South East are part of this. They suffer as much as people in the North from the overheating of the South East economy and the concentration power of power in Westminster, Whitehall and the City.

Our Country did not become the richest Country in the World because London dictated it. It became the heart of an Empire on which the ‘Sun never sets’ because of the actions of the ship owners of Liverpool; the wool merchants of Bradford; the cotton merchants of Manchester; the ship builders of Glasgow; the linen makers of Ulster and the coal miners of Wales. This is not a defence of Empire because we did some terrible things to create that Empire but it is a defence of decentralised decision making.

It is that power of the regions which is stifled by the fact that we live in the most centralised decision-making process of any Country in Western Europe. Public sector decisions such as on transport; housing and other major areas of infrastructure are made in London; private sector investment decisions are made in City based board rooms or even further afield. There are now few major ‘Boardrooms’ in the North of England. Boardrooms where decisions were made in the best interests of the company but also in the best interests of the communities in which the company worked.

We are complicit in this imbalance. We send MPs to London to play the Parliamentary game. We don’t work together enough to use our own power and own money for our best advantage and not the Southern Elite.

Now is the time for the ‘regions’ to revolt and create a rebalanced United Kingdom of the three Nations and the 9 regions of England!! In the next few weeks I will be setting out an outline a new UK in which the power of Westminster and Whitehall is broken. Working together within and between regions there is much that can be done if we break down our clannishness and rivalries and work and fight together. Too often we have fought each other for the scraps of Westminster and capitalism. It does not need to be that way. Together we are far, far more than the sum of our parts.

Watch this space and then join me and be revolting!!! Let’s stop asking for permission and just ask for forgiveness.

 

Posted in Politics | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The fight for Caldies Park – round 22!

banners

 

Banners are going up all over South Liverpool as the community rallies to save part of our much loved park from developers, Redrow Homes. On Saturday the campaign raised more than £2,000 for our judicial reviews against the Council’s planning decisions.

We have noticed in the past few weeks that some Labour councillors have broken ranks with the Mayor of Liverpool and have made clear that they do not feel that there is a need to build on Harthill and Calderstones Park. That is also the decision of the Riverside Constituency Labour Party.

It had already been our intention to call an Extraordinary Meeting of the City Council to try and get the Council to reverse its daft decision to build on 13 acres of the Park which is known as the Harthill Estate. We have now written a motion which recognises the valuable contribution that Labour councillors could play in chucking out this very bad idea.

This is an incredibly bad idea. Financially, the figures don’t stack up. They could get some housing on the site quickly and without offending the community by developing Beechley House for 2 bed apartments. The Riding for the Disabled Stables Committee are confident they could get grant funding for the existing premises easily and that is there preferred option. The model railway could stay in situ and support could be given to them for improving their facilities.

If you care about the Park please contact your local councillors to try and get them to support us. We can all be contacted by e-mail in this way. Firstname.lastname@liverpool.gov.uk. Don’t bother with Lib Dem councillors – we know how we are voting!!

To Cllr Christine Banks, Lord Mayor of Liverpool

We, the undersigned members of Liverpool Council requisition an Extraordinary Meeting of Liverpool City Council to discuss the following motion.

Cllr Richard Kemp, CBE           Cllr Andrew Makinson       Cllr Liz Makinson

Cllr Mirna Juarez       Cllr Carole Storey         Cllr Kris Brown         Cllr Malcolm Kelly

 

Harthill and Calderstones Park

Council notes that more than 23,500 local people have signed a petition to oppose the sale of the Harthill Estate section of Harthill & Calderstones Park to Redrow Homes.

It welcomes the fact that Riverside Constituency Labour Party and other Labour councillors have now joined the Liberal Democrat and Green Parties to oppose this move.

It believes that here no financial advantages to be gained from a sale which adversely affects the environment of Liverpool.

It requests the Elected Mayor therefore to:

  1. Withdraw the land from potential sale;
  2. Develop the former Beechley House as two bedroomed apartments with a priority for sale being given to residents within one mile of the Park;
  3. Look at the possibility of developing part of the Beechley House Land for more two bedroomed apartments;
  4. Give Beechley Riding for the Disabled a 25 years lease on the land and buildings that they currently occupy subject to them getting grants within 2 years to improve the stables and their environs to the standards that would be deemed acceptable to the Council and implementing such works;
  5. Work with the model railway group to secure grants to develop, on their existing site, an improved and sustainable model railway system;
  6. Use the buildings and land vacated by Calder Kids for local community purposes;
  7. Discuss with the Local Green Space and Friends of the Parks Groups the possibility of them taking over and managing the woodland and nature trail areas.

Cllr Andrew Makinson                        Cllr Richard Kemp CBE

Posted in Liverpool Politics | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

We must break the Power of Whitehall and Westmonster.

Westminster

The people who prattle in this building and work in the Ministries that surround it control too much of our lives. Liverpool and the other major cities of England will never flourish until we break the power of Whitehall and Westminster

No that is not a spelling mistake (although I have been known to make a few!) That’s just the way that I increasingly see ‘London’ these days. All my long political life (51years and counting) I have seen bureaucrats in Whitehall and politicians in Westminster take crass policy decisions that affect Liverpool based not on our needs but on the needs of the London and South East voters who dominate political thinking.

I have been thinking about that for two reasons recently. Firstly, the fact that Esther McVey sees the need to spend £200,000+ on an examination of whether Universal Credit is hitting the poorest people in our community. I’m sorry Esther, that is just blindingly obvious. Get out of your ministerial limo; leave your wealthy constituency behind and spend a day incognito in the middle of any city and large town and you could see this for yourself.

The second reason is that the Lib Dem Conference agenda has just been published. We will be debating a motion supported by a policy paper that I have had a hand in creating. The motion is looking at the way that the UK is governed with a particular look at the way England is governed. It’s not that there is anything in the paper that I disagree with. It’s just that it’s all a bit anaemic. It’s just not angry enough about the Stalinist control that Westminster and Whitehall have over ‘the provinces’ which has choked the life and vitality out of our cities and encouraged our young people to head south because, “that’s where the jobs are”.

Arguably, England is the most centralised state in Western Europe. Bureaucrats in Whitehall and politicians in Westminster micro manage communities throughout the country. They do it by the creation of laws and Statutory Instruments and enforce their rule through a series of inspectorates and regionally based bureaucrats such as Children’s Commissioners.

  • Planning decisions made by people with local knowledge and a local mandate can be overturned by a bureaucrat based in Bristol.
  • There are regulations about bollards; parking fines and bus lanes
  • Central government decides how many houses we need to build to meet the needs of our communities.
  • Cabinet Ministers answer questions in the House of Commons about tiny matters.
  • Most parts of central government such as the Health Service have little local discretion to create local solutions with local partners to local needs but wait for direct instruction from central government.

This is rigorously enforced by the financial controls that Westminster imposes. The theory of localism and do what you think is right is supplanted by ‘he who pays the piper calls the tune’.

Liberal Democrats think that this centralisation is wrong. Liberal Democrats believe that decisions over policies and spending should be made at the lowest possible level. These levels will be different for different types of activity.

I want to break the power of Westminster and Whitehall over issues of a domestic nature which should rightly be decided by those who have a clear understanding of the nature of problems and can devise local solutions.

The lowest level would be the neighbourhood perhaps 5,000 people

Then the district around 100,000 people

Then the Town or City – between 250,000 and 750,000 people

Then the County or Conurbation – between 750,000 and 2,500,000 people

Then the region which, following the devolved governmental system could be up to 5 million people.

Liberal Democrats recognise that this will mean systems that look different in different parts of the Country. This is right. The way you provide services in a heavily rural area should look very different to the way they are provided in a heavily urban area.

We do not propose elected bodies at all these levels unless there is a strong demand for them. Our key aim is to involve more people in the design and delivery of services and particularly to ensure that are able to influence the decision-making process. This can be achieved through a variety of structures working within differing democratic structures.

But where the motion and the paper both fall woefully short is in two key regards:

  1. It says little about taxation powers. We need at a much more local level to decide which taxes we need and which we don’t which would include specific taxes which are relevant to specific areas. As an example, I believe that Liverpool would benefit from a hotel bedroom tax. Liverpool spends a lot of money promoting our city and events in it. Of course, the private sector that benefit from this spend do contribute towards the costs.  They Business rates but this is nowhere near the cost of providing the additional services and promotions by which they can thrive. A bedroom tax of £2 for a night’s occupation would be easy to administer and would raise enough money to pay for all our promotion. Such a tax would be pointless in Knowsley!
  2. It doesn’t begin to define the things that ‘London’ should stop doing and leave to us. A good point here is the failure to mention the NHS. It pains me to say so but the Manchester devolution is going well. Money is being spent to meet local needs and priorities. Local decision making is beginning to ensure that the distinction between health and social care spending and services is becoming hard to spot. This means a much better service for those who rely heavily on both services. But the list should not end with health. There is no reason why all local transport decisions; training; economic development and employment initiatives; housing and the environment could not be made by people at the appropriate regional or local level in a democratic and transparent way.

The Lib Dem policy paper and motion hint at this but tease you into believing that this is a radical document whilst not really going far enough.

The key to local decision-making is to ensure that the right decision is made at the right level and the people. That will improve the quality of services; reduce the cost of services; ensure greater cooperation between service delivery agencies. Our mantra should be simple. If we want our regions to flourish we must break the power of Whitehall and Westminster”

A few years ago, the BBC did a survey which asked people which City was England’s second city. The Brummies said Birmingham; the Geordies said Newcastle and the Mancies said Manchester. The Scousers said London! Of course, we think this is the best city in the Country but we will never achieve our potential whilst London holds the powers and purse strings. Power to the People!

 

Posted in Politics | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Paying for Social Care – the LGA Green Paper

oldwalkers

If we could all have a healthy old age like these youngsters we would not be facing the huge costs in the NHS which are happening because so many of us are living so much longer

Today I have spent a great deal of my time with media from around England helping to launch a nationwide consultation to kick-start a desperately-needed debate on how to pay for adult social care and rescue the services caring for older and disabled people from collapse.

This debate is vitally needed because in Liverpool, despite the excellent staff of the NHS and local council, services for the elderly are reaching breaking point. These problems can only be solved locally if the services that are desperately needed if the debate about what to do has been held nationally. We cannot find from Liverpool’s tax base the money for the social care and preventative services that are needed.

Since 2010 councils have had to bridge a £6 billion funding shortfall just to keep the adult social care system going. In addition, the LGA estimates that adult social care services face a £3.5 billion funding gap by 2025, just to maintain existing standards of care, while latest figures show that councils in England receive 1.8 million new requests for adult social care a year – the equivalent of nearly 5,000 a day.

Decades of failures to find a sustainable solution to how to pay for adult social care for the long-term, and the Government’s recent decision to delay its long-awaited green paper on the issue until the autumn, has prompted council leaders to take action.

Short-term cash injections have not prevented care providers reluctantly closing their operations or returning contracts to councils and less choice and availability to a rising number of people with care needs. This is increasing the strain on an already-overstretched workforce and unpaid carers and leading to more people not having their care needs met.

Increased spend on adult social care – which now accounts for nearly 40 per cent of total council budgets – is threatening the future of other vital council services, such as parks, leisure centres and libraries, which help to keep people well and from needing care and support and hospital treatment.

The LGA eight-week consultation therefore sets out options for how the system could be improved and the radical measures that need to be considered given the scale of this funding crisis. Possible solutions to paying for adult social care in the long-term outlined in the consultation include:

  • Increasing income tax for taxpayers of all ages– a 1p rise on the basic rate could raise £4.4 billion in 2024/25
  • Increasing national insurance– a 1p rise could raise £10.4 billion in 2024/25
  • A Social Care Premium– charging the over-40s and working pensioners an earmarked contribution (such as an addition to National Insurance or another mechanism). If it was assumed everyone over 40 was able to pay the same amount (not the case under National Insurance), raising £1 billion would mean a cost of £33.40 for each person aged 40+ in 2024/25.
  • Means testing universal benefits,such as winter fuel allowance and free TV licences, could raise £1.9 billion in 2024/25
  • Allowing councils to increase council tax– a 1 per cent rise would generate £285 million in 2024/25

The consultation – the biggest launched by the LGA – is seeking the views of people and organisations from across society on how best to pay for care and support for adults of all ages and their unpaid carers, and aims to make the public a central part of the debate. The LGA will respond to the findings in the autumn to inform and influence the Government’s green paper and spending plans.

The LGA green paper – alongside funding issues – also seeks to start a much-needed debate about how to shift the overall emphasis of our care and health system so that it focuses far more on preventative, community-based personalised care, which helps maximise people’s health, wellbeing and independence and alleviates pressure on the NHS.

What I basically told the media was that,  “People have a right to live the life they want to lead and high-quality adult social care and support plays an essential role in this. It is also vital to society. It strengthens communities, reduces pressures on the NHS, supports around 1.5 million jobs and contributes as much as £46 billion to the UK economy.

“But work to find a long-term funding solution for adult social care and support has been kicked into the long grass by successive governments for the past two decades and has brought these services to breaking point.

It has created a deeply uncertain and worrying future outlook for people who use adult social care services now and the growing number of people who will need them in the future.

We cannot duck this issue as a society any longer. Our green paper is the start of a nationwide public debate about the future of care for all adults, and how best to support their wellbeing, and we encourage as many people and organisations to have their say on how we pay for it and the responsibilities of citizens, families and communities.

Adult social care and support matters. We must fund it for the long-term so that people of all ages can be supported to live the life they want to live. Building a better society means ensuring that everyone receives the care they need to lead a good life: well, independent and at home for as long as possible. This process must start now.”

The LGA’s green paper consultation is available at https://www.local.gov.uk/about/news/lga-launches-own-green-paper-adult-social-care-reaches-breaking-point

The consultation will run for eight weeks from 31 July. The LGA will respond to the findings in a further publication in the autumn, which will be used to influence the Government’s own expected green paper, forthcoming Autumn Budget for 2019/20 and Spending Review.

Recent surveys by the LGA show that 96 per cent of councils and lead members believe there is a major funding problem with adult social care; 89 per cent said taxation must be part of the long-term solution to funding it, and that 87 per cent of the public support more funding to plug the significant funding gap in the sector.

Posted in Health Service Debate | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment