LOCAL Liberal Democrats are opposed to removing social care powers from local councils and giving them to No 10.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has set up a taskforce of advisers and ministers to look at bringing health and social care together under central government control. This possible move has been strongly opposed by the cross-party Local Government Association.
Cllr Ian Marks who is a member of Warrington’s Health and Wellbeing Board said: “Liberal Democrats have campaigned for years to bring these two services together but we want control to be with local communities and not central government. The pandemic has highlighted the critical importance of much closer working between the NHS, local councils and voluntary organisations.
“Here in Warrington, there has been excellent co-operation between the different groups and the need to act quickly has helped break down barriers. Prior to the onset of COVID 19, good progress was being made on closer working. This was a win-win leading to better treatment for the public and cost savings. The accelerated progress forced on us by the pandemic must not be lost now.
“The way central government has handled the crisis has been shambolic with dreadful decision making and many U-turns. In contrast local government has stepped up to the mark and has done a good job and gained the confidence of the public. This is despite a shortage of funding from government.
“If social care were removed from local government control it would make it more difficult to join it up with other vital services like public health and housing. Power needs to be devolved downwards to local communities, not upward to the centre. The pandemic has shown the advantage of multi-agency teams who understand the needs of local communities. These teams must be properly funded to allow them to meet individual needs.
“I have lost track of how many times the long awaited White Paper on Social Care has been delayed. As the Conservative Chairman of the Local Government Association rightly states, shifting responsibility for care is not the answer and will fail to address the fundamental issues that have pushed the system to breaking point. Social care deserves parity of funding and esteem with the NHS, not to be taken over by it.”