Fair pay for care workers - the London Living Wage

MJ_discussing_with_resident.JPGCare workers play a vital role - not only in the safety and dignity of the people they care for, but also in their independence; we should value that work.

At the Council meeting yesterday, Lib Dem cllr Mary-Janes Jeanes proposed fair pay for care workers – the London Living Wage and better sick pay – which Labour Council bosses voted down and blocked.

Local Liberal Democrats will continue to fight for investment in our local health and care services.

Cllr Jeanes' speech is below.

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Merton overcharging 'severely mentally impaired' people?

Merton Council may be overcharging hundreds of people by failing to apply a Council Tax discount to potentially vulnerable individuals.

Under national rules those with “severe mental impairment” (SMI) and living alone are exempt from Council Tax, whilst those living with one other person qualify for a 25% discount. A Money Saving Expert report recently estimated that around 0.9% of households nationally should qualify for the SMI discounts, but Merton Lib Dems have revealed that only 0.3% of Merton households are currently claiming.
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Future of St Helier hospital

St Helier is a great local hospital with hard-working staff who deliver good care, but they're let down by outdated, poor quality buildings.

Today, the Epsom and St Helier NHS Trust, which runs St Helier Hospital, announced that it is putting together a case to secure up to £400 million of investment to replace the Trust’s failing buildings with modern, purpose-built facilities.

The Trust is starting an engagement programme with local residents which will run between now and 30 September - they want your help to secure the funding the Trust will need, and to choose where the new facilities should be.

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Local NHS referrals for children on the autistic spectrum - open letter

Open letter - 3 June 2017 (and the response from 14 June)

To: Mr David Bradley, CEO,
South West London and St George's Mental Health NHS Trust

CC: Merton CCG's Clinical Chair, Dr Andrew Murray

Dear Mr Bradley,

It was with disappointment that we read of the recent proposal to limit NHS referrals for children on the autistic spectrum. We understand from reports that only those children who present with other mental health disorders would be able to receive an NHS diagnosis of Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD), if the proposal moves forward.

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60 young people in Merton stripped of housing benefit

At least 20 young people in Wimbledon, and double that number in Mitcham & Morden, will be affected by the Conservative Government’s decision to strip 18-21 year olds of housing benefit, research commissioned by the Liberal Democrats has shown.

In total 18,000 young people across the country expected to be affected. The Liberal Democrats have committed to reverse the cuts, which came into force at the beginning of April.

As anyone walking through Wimbledon will testify, Merton is already suffering from increasing levels of homelessness, with official figures showing that the number of rough sleepers in the borough almost doubled in 2016. Charities have warned that stripping 18-21 year-olds of housing benefits could push more young people onto the streets while research has shown it is likely to cost taxpayers more than it saves.

Wimbledon's Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate Carl Quilliam commented:

"The heartless decision to strip under-21s of housing benefit risks pushing young people in Wimbledon onto the streets.

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An extra £14m for Merton's NHS

Claire & Carl want more investment in local NHS servicesThe Liberal Democrats have slammed the Government’s failure to provide enough extra cash for the NHS in Wednesday’s budget, warning that local services will struggle to cope with growing demand.

Ahead of the budget the Liberal Democrats called for a £4 billion funding boost for NHS and care services this year. That would amount to a cash injection of £7m for local NHS services in Merton and another £7m for social care across the borough. The Budget announced by the Government will instead see the share of national income spent on the NHS fall in the coming years.

NHS services in south west London currently face a funding gap of £828m by 2020-21, analysis of local NHS plans has found. The NHS funding crisis also risks being made even worse by the Government’s hard Brexit plans, which are set to increase borrowing by £100bn in the coming years.

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£4.3m secured to protect local health and care services

Merton Liberal Democrats have welcomed the announcement that £4.3 million has been protected for local health and care services.

Labour-run Merton Council has announced that it will use the ‘adult social care precept’ - a slight increase in Council Tax - to provide an additional £2.3 million in funding for local care services. The new money will help the NHS and Council attract an extra £2 million funding from the Government's Better Care Fund to help prevent further damaging cuts to services.

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Let's Talk Merton: health and social care

Let's Talk Merton is our monthly informal political discussion, which takes place on the 2nd Monday of the month.

In November, the theme was the health and social care - you can read a summary of the discussion here.

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Open letter: council tax 'consultation' & adult social care

In March, Merton Council passed on the couple of pounds a month pre-election Council Tax cut from Boris.

It could have used the money to help protect ‘adult social care’ - but instead, services like Meals on Wheels were cut.

We were shocked that a Labour-run Council would do this.

After an outcry, a consultation on Council Tax was promised. The ‘consultation’ is now available here.

Merton's Lib Dem councillor, cllr Mary-Jane Jeanes has just sent the following open letter to the Labour leader of Merton Council. We will publish his reply.

Dear Stephen,

May I take this opportunity to write to you regarding the consultation on Council Tax. Over the last few weeks, residents have contacted me asking for clarification about about the current Council tax consultation. After discussion, many cannot understand why the equivalent of the 2% precept, ring-fenced for Adult Social Care (ASC), was not taken up.

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Labour's decision on social care cuts

In late 2015, Labour-run Merton Council proposed to scrap a number of local Adult Social Care services - including Meals on Wheels and support for carers.

Merton Council's cabinet met on Monday 15th February to consider whether to include these proposals in the Council budget for 2016-17. Following opposition from councillors, a number of concessions have been made, but the vast majority of the cuts are still planned.

Continuing her campaign to stop further social care cuts, Liberal Democrat councillor for West Barnes, Mary-Jane Jeanes spoke at the cabinet meeting, calling on the Labour Council cabinet to use the power it has to increase Council Tax by 2% (roughly £2.30 per household, per month) to help protect these services further.

The full text of her speech is below.

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