By Debbie le Quesne

Social care cuts – now London feels the pinch

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London, once famed for its Trafalgar pigeons that have sparked a number of campaigns to reduce their numbers, is fighting a losing battle with these feral scavengers.

Forgive me for using this analogy for the capital’s unraveling social care policies, but . . . as they say, ‘they’re coming home to roost.’

The Evening Standard reported Town hall cuts could lead to a  £1.7 billion gap in adult social care funding within four years – with 170,000 vulnerable Londoners “the worst hit.”

Of course, this has become a political hard-ball game with Labour saying elderly, ill and disabled people who are looked after in their homes or in residential care would be the worst hit.

In fairness, the Standard just promotes the political spin without comment, but suddenly Islington, one of the capital’s up-and-coming wealth centres (some would say now getting very posh and trendy in parts) is feeling the pinch of Government social care policy.

New powers will allow local authorities to raise council tax by two per cent – a potential rise of almost £200 a family, it is claimed – but councils say that even then they will not be able to make up the difference, raising only £570 million by 2020.

And as I’ve said before, they also point out the Better Care Fund, which will total £410 million within four years, is taken from existing council funding and it will not all go on adult social care.

I’m always suspicious of political data, but this is worth rolling out. Labour’s Red Lines campaign claims that even if every borough raised council tax and all the Better Care Fund money was ring-fenced, there would still be a £750 million funding gap for social care.

Something about judging society by the way it cares for its most vulnerable springs to mind . . . again.

Well, with elections for London”s Mayor in May there’s plenty of campaign material for all parties given that the social care crisis appears to be getting closer and closer to the corridors of power In Westminster.

And forgive me for being a little hard, but in general terms (dangerous, I know) London’s local authorities do have the luxury of property capital . . . something we have precious little of in the Midlands.

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