A Government scheme to boost funding for adult social services will not even cover an overdue wage increase for hard working care home staff in Rochdale, MP Simon Danczuk has argued.
In last year’s Autumn Statement, Chancellor George Osborne announced plans to allow local authorities to increase council tax by 2% to fill the funding gap in adult social care.
But speaking in a Parliamentary debate, Rochdale MP Simon Danczuk said the new funds raised will not even cover the additional cost of paying the new “living wage” to overworked and underpaid care workers.
He said: “The move is welcome, but it will still barely scrape the surface of the problem. Many homes in Rochdale are banded in the A and B categories for council tax, so this scheme will only raise an extra £1.3 million.
“Care workers are some of the most underpaid, they deserve their pay rise, so let’s fund it properly.
“The pressure the wage increase will have on budgets for social care will not be fully met by the 2% increase.”
Speaking afterwards, the MP added: “Care home staff and other care workers in Rochdale are among the hardest working members of our community and they are long overdue a pay rise.
“This 2% increase is an empty gesture which does not go far enough. Central Government must reverse the cuts that have decimated adult care in Rochdale and provide the funds we need to provide adequate services.”
Rochdale Council has already faced cuts to its budget of up to £200 million since 2010.
During the debate, Mr Danczuk also argued the increase would be a drop in the ocean compared to the funding crisis facing the town.
According to The Joseph Roundtree Foundation, spending on social care fell £65 per person in the most deprived communities during the last Parliament. This is compared to a rise of £28 per person in the least deprived areas.
Mr Danczuk said: “Council leaders and health care professionals can see through the smoke and mirrors tactics adopted here.
“The ‘Social Care Precept’, as it has been labelled, will disproportionately affect the poorer councils. Councils such as Rochdale will be worse off, while richer areas will be better off.
“It will raise the least money in the areas of greatest need, which will only increase health inequality and vastly increase the funds for the already wealthy councils.”