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Response to the Autumn Statement: Government has to provide funds fo health and social services

It was a terrible mistake for chancellor, Philip Hammond, not to find additional funding for social care in the Autumn Statement. 

Speaking for 51 minutes, he said not a word about social care, despite the intense pressure that it is under.

Is it any surprise that even a former Conservative health secretary like Stephen Dorrell is leading a revolt against the government? He told the BBC: “There is no good going into this winter saying it is all going to be all right when we already have lengthening queues in A&E departments, we already have problems with hospitals unable to discharge people because of inadequate provision of social care.”

This is the critical issue. 

The cuts in funding for social care are now having a devastating knock-on effect on our health care. 

From hospitals to doctor’s surgeries the impact is being felt, even before the winter rise casework begins. 

Councils have had their funding eroded from them ever since the Conservative government took power in May 2010. Camden’s like-for-like funding from government has been cut by a 34 per cent, making it increasingly difficult to care for our elderly population.

The needs in our community are high. There are 3,200 people over 75 in Camden and a quarter of them rely on services from the council. And even among younger people there are needs that are crying out to be met. We have the third highest incidence of serious mental illness in the country.

Camden has done what it can. 

Efficiencies have been made. 

Budgets have been scrutinised and scrutinised again. 

The council has used its powers to raise additional money to invest in improving services. But this brings in just £1.89million. 

The answer is clear: the government has to provide the funds needed to provide our communities with the health and social services they deserve. 

This applies in Camden just as it does across the whole of the country. These are needs that cannot be postponed.


Keir Starmer QC MP

 

This was published as a letter in the Camden New Journal

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