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.
Local health chiefs had reportedly threatened to withdraw this £2 million of funding if the Council didn’t secure the much needed additional funds by using the adult social care precept. In the Council chamber, Merton Lib Dems and Cllr Mary-Jane Jeanes have consistently fought for this funding to be used to protect services like Meals on Wheels - as part of last year's Council budget and, again, to be used in the coming year.
Reacting to the news, Lib Dem councillor Mary-Jane Jeanes said:
“This is a welcome u-turn by Labour councillors. We've consistently argued that this money is needed to mitigate damaging cuts to care services, like cuts to Meals on Wheels and support for carers. However, we still need to lobby Government for proper funding for both care services and the NHS.”
Wimbledon's Lib Dem Parliamentary campaigner Carl Quilliam said:
“The local Labour Party have been tearing themselves apart over this issue - with Labour bosses fighting against calls to stop care cuts. There's still going to be a formal investigation into the Council leader over the consultation process on Council Tax - but if he is to be believed, the consultation wasn’t even a factor in this decision. People will be left wondering what the point of it all was.”
"This funding is vital for local social care services but there is still much more to be done to protect our NHS and care services locally. We will keep campaigning to get sufficient funding for these services from the Council and the Government."