Cllr Joel Davidson is a councillor for Brondesbury Park Ward on Brent Council and was the Conservative Party London Assembly candidate for Brent and Harrow last year.
It’s Council Budget time again and here in Brent the Conservatives have proposed a better and vital funding settlement for adult social care. While Brent Labour still rant and rave about central government cuts, we have managed to produce a fully costed budget that also freezes council tax.
We all know that social care funding and provision is a key issue facing Britain due to the strain that changing demographics is placing on the system. Councils have a duty to their residents to ensure that they provide as much funding as possible and also ensure high levels of care. With the number of over 65s in Brent expected to grow by eight per cent over the next few years it is a key priority for Brent council to ensure proper funding and provisions for elderly care. With many in our borough without the resources to pay for their care, this makes a proper strategy absolutely essential.
Through making painless savings to the local taxpayer such as scrapping the communications department, trade union funding, and making more relatively low-hanging back-office efficiency improvements, our fully costed budget has been able to offer £2.8 million of adult social care funding, above the two per cent precept offered by Labour in their Budget.
Of course, our strained services need more than just a cash boost. There needs to be a completely new attitude towards how we approach social care and far greater integration of health and social care. So it was good to hear Sajid Javid’s recent commitments to this aim. The current failures in our system are leading to overcrowded hospitals with elderly patients being admitted to hospital when they should be in a suitable social care environment.
With demographics changing rapidly and care home operators struggling with increased costs and more demanding Care Quality Commission regulations, councils have a duty to address this, especially areas such as Brent that have a large population reliant on the public pay model.
That’s why we also called for a new “Contract for Adult Care” in our Budget, to guard against the poor and often heartbreaking examples of ‘box-ticking’ levels of care which unfortunately cross my casework desk far too frequently. This contract will ensure that Brent guarantees transparent minimum standards of care and compassion, and will enable our residents to know that their loved ones will be adequately cared for within the borough.