Tory councillor says she wants the cuts "to stop"

Evesham Journal: Councillor Sheila Blagg, cabinet member for adult social care Councillor Sheila Blagg, cabinet member for adult social care

ONE of Worcestershire's most senior Tory politicians has broken ranks by saying she wants Government cuts "to stop" - and has revealed she is "hurting" over the impact it is having on adult care.

Councillor Sheila Blagg, a cabinet member at Worcestershire County Council, says "huge amounts" of spending is being taken out of adult social care and has called for it to be halted.

It is the most direct criticism of the Government since Councillor Adrian Hardman, the Tory leader, co-signed a letter to The Observer newspaper in June 2013 which said councils had "bore the brunt" of cuts and "for the sake of the public" it could not continue.

Cllr Blagg has published a report saying:

- By 2020 the number of over 65s in Worcestershire will increase by 30,000 and over 85s will surge by 6,000

- By 2025 as a result of that an extra 8,000 people need some form of personal care

- An additional 15,000 will need "help with household tasks", of which many will qualify for taxpayer-funded visits

- The estimated growth in demand is "clearly unaffordable" and can only be tackled by huge streamlining with the likes of the NHS

Bosses at County Hall have to slash £13.2 million from adult care spending by March next year and are trying to align as many health-based services as possible with the NHS, driven by a circle of reduced Government funding and rising demand.

It is part of a wider plan to save £32 million from adult social care in a five-year blueprint.

Cllr Blagg, who is the elected boss of the council's adult social care services, said: "We are all struggling in local authorities - we've taken huge amounts of cuts over the last three years as part of the (Government's) comprehensive spending review and it's hurting in all areas.

"It is tough and we'd like it to stop.

"We have to make sure we do everything we can to ensure we meet our statutory duties."

She said the only solution was to keep talking with the health service about closer integration and work with the likes of hospices.

"We need to absolutely show how much we value what they do and bring them into our discussions," she said.

"When we go through our integration programme we need to make sure all our health colleagues are on the same page."

Comments (5)

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2:47pm Tue 15 Jul 14

brooksider says...

Well said, a Worcestershire Councillor with the best interests of local people at heart.
I wonder will Sheila suffer the same fate as Maurice Broomfield for not towing the party line?
Well said, a Worcestershire Councillor with the best interests of local people at heart. I wonder will Sheila suffer the same fate as Maurice Broomfield for not towing the party line? brooksider
  • Score: 2

3:01pm Tue 15 Jul 14

Samboy says...

I hope she does succeed in Towing the party in the right direction. Toeing is not so cool.
I hope she does succeed in Towing the party in the right direction. Toeing is not so cool. Samboy
  • Score: 3

3:08pm Tue 15 Jul 14

green49 says...

She will be ignored by the rest of the Tories, anyway her comments smack of theres an election due soon.
She will be ignored by the rest of the Tories, anyway her comments smack of theres an election due soon. green49
  • Score: 0

6:27pm Tue 15 Jul 14

Landy44 says...

Another one who has missed the point. Does ANYONE really understand the current economics. There have actually been relatively little overall cuts - most funding has been re-deployed so the argument is really about WHERE the money is spent and WHAT ON.
That in itself is unfortunate because we do need to seriously reduce the cost of government and the services it provides (central and local). We've a debt to pay off, then and only then can we reduce taxes so that we can create a low taxation environment to drive an economy that can afford the services we'd all like! Right now, we can't afford the poor services we tolerate.
Another one who has missed the point. Does ANYONE really understand the current economics. There have actually been relatively little overall cuts - most funding has been re-deployed so the argument is really about WHERE the money is spent and WHAT ON. That in itself is unfortunate because we do need to seriously reduce the cost of government and the services it provides (central and local). We've a debt to pay off, then and only then can we reduce taxes so that we can create a low taxation environment to drive an economy that can afford the services we'd all like! Right now, we can't afford the poor services we tolerate. Landy44
  • Score: -1

11:27pm Tue 15 Jul 14

3thinker says...

Landy44 wrote:
Another one who has missed the point. Does ANYONE really understand the current economics. There have actually been relatively little overall cuts - most funding has been re-deployed so the argument is really about WHERE the money is spent and WHAT ON.
That in itself is unfortunate because we do need to seriously reduce the cost of government and the services it provides (central and local). We've a debt to pay off, then and only then can we reduce taxes so that we can create a low taxation environment to drive an economy that can afford the services we'd all like! Right now, we can't afford the poor services we tolerate.
Yes we do need to balance the budget. However…

Lets not forget that its the financial sector that got us into this problem and 'interestingly' the Government have decided that its the local authorities that will have to find a disproportionate amount of the savings that need to be made as a result of the bail out we all as taxpayers had pay.

The Government has announced a 43% cut in its finding to councils over 5 years. After 3 years we're £10bn or about half way through that.

I think we can all agree that there was savings to be made and I happen to think many local authorities have done a reasonable job in balancing the books. The problem now is that services have already been cut to the bone and yet there's another £10bn to find.

I'm sure like me Landy we have enough personal resources to meet our own needs, but we do need to recognise that there are those who are less well off and vulnerable that will be dramatically affected by the further cuts that will have to happen. Probably the most vulnerable are those who are older, on limited fixed incomes and those with health problems.

Its all too easy to belly ache about taxes but I'd like to think we are compassionate enough to realise that its in everyones interest to ensure vital public sector services are maintained. In this respect I think Cllr Blagg is taking a principled stance in stating the bleeding obvious and representing the interests of the local community she has been elected to serve.

Unfortunately her colleagues seem to think the panacea is a unquestioning privatisation of services. As we have seen with the privatisation of the utilities and PFI this does not in the longer term deliver the best outcome.
[quote][p][bold]Landy44[/bold] wrote: Another one who has missed the point. Does ANYONE really understand the current economics. There have actually been relatively little overall cuts - most funding has been re-deployed so the argument is really about WHERE the money is spent and WHAT ON. That in itself is unfortunate because we do need to seriously reduce the cost of government and the services it provides (central and local). We've a debt to pay off, then and only then can we reduce taxes so that we can create a low taxation environment to drive an economy that can afford the services we'd all like! Right now, we can't afford the poor services we tolerate.[/p][/quote]Yes we do need to balance the budget. However… Lets not forget that its the financial sector that got us into this problem and 'interestingly' the Government have decided that its the local authorities that will have to find a disproportionate amount of the savings that need to be made as a result of the bail out we all as taxpayers had pay. The Government has announced a 43% cut in its finding to councils over 5 years. After 3 years we're £10bn or about half way through that. I think we can all agree that there was savings to be made and I happen to think many local authorities have done a reasonable job in balancing the books. The problem now is that services have already been cut to the bone and yet there's another £10bn to find. I'm sure like me Landy we have enough personal resources to meet our own needs, but we do need to recognise that there are those who are less well off and vulnerable that will be dramatically affected by the further cuts that will have to happen. Probably the most vulnerable are those who are older, on limited fixed incomes and those with health problems. Its all too easy to belly ache about taxes but I'd like to think we are compassionate enough to realise that its in everyones interest to ensure vital public sector services are maintained. In this respect I think Cllr Blagg is taking a principled stance in stating the bleeding obvious and representing the interests of the local community she has been elected to serve. Unfortunately her colleagues seem to think the panacea is a unquestioning privatisation of services. As we have seen with the privatisation of the utilities and PFI this does not in the longer term deliver the best outcome. 3thinker
  • Score: 3
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