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Councillor warns of social care crisis as government green paper is delayed again

04 July 2018

Councillor Iftikhar Ahmed.

Our cabinet member for adult care has accused the government of 'dither and delay' over its continued failure to find a long-term funding solution for social care.

Councillor Iftikhar Ahmed spoke out after the Department for Health announced the publication of its green paper for reforming adult social care had been pushed back to the autumn.

It is the 2nd time in just 6 months the long-awaited proposals have been shelved, drawing widespread criticism across local government.

Lord Porter, chair of the Local Government Association, voiced his concerns, saying the wellbeing of vulnerable adults and children was now at risk due to cuts to local authority budgets.

And David Behan, head of the Care Quality Commission, warned that government cuts to English councils meant over a million people across the country were not receiving the social care they need.

In December 2017, the government delayed the green paper, saying it needed more time to find a solution to the national £2.3 billion funding gap facing adult social care by 2020.

"We are managing to maintain high quality services in Rochdale thanks to good management, high-quality staff and sound decision making"

Now Whitehall officials have again postponed publication, promising the document will ensure social care is fully integrated with the recently announced NHS plan.

But Councillor Ahmed said the wait was a kick in the teeth for us, after seeing nearly £200 million of government cuts in the last 8 years. He said: "This vital green paper would appear to be forever delayed. However, the issue will not go away and the government can't keep running away from reality or expecting local council taxpayers to foot the bill alone. Its continued dither and delay is not helping the social care sector which has been starved of investment for far too long.

"We are managing to maintain high quality services in Rochdale thanks to good management, high-quality staff and sound decision making. However, we can't swim against the tide forever and the government needs to act and act quickly before the social sector faces a major crisis."

Rochdale's social care team deliver scores of pioneering services across the borough, providing support for vulnerable adults, the elderly and those in need of care.

These include the award-winning Intermediate Tier Service, which provides residents with personalised care at home and in community beds, and the STARS service, which provides a popular short-term assessment and reablement service for residents across the borough.

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