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.
The 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.
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.
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.
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.
Merton Council has proposed to scrap a number of local Adult Social Care services - including Meals on Wheels and support for carers.
As Liberal Democrats, we want people to live their lives to their full potential – and believe that the role of Adult Social Care is to provide the support needed to help those who need it live as independently as possible.
We want to stop further social care cuts.
In an open letter, Cllr Mary-Jane Jeanes has called on the Labour-run Merton Council to use the power it has to increase Council Tax by 2% (roughly £2.30 per household, per month) to help save these services.
8,800 families in Merton Borough will lose out under Conservative plans to cut tax credits, with the average working family losing £750 a year.
An open letter from Wimbledon's Parliamentary campaigner, Shas Sheehan.
In February, local Lib Dems sought to protect funding for the care packages of those with the highest support needs in the borough.