Care workers have been on the front-line during the Covid-19 pandemic. They are also amongst the lowest paid in our community. While Council employees are paid at least the London Living Wage, the majority of care workers – who work for private companies that contract with the Council – are not.
We believe that the Council should: make a commitment in principle to pay care workers the London Living Wage; investigate the costs of doing so; and campaign to get the money from Government.
We submitted motions to this effect to Merton Council in 2017, and at the budget meeting in 2020 but they were blocked by Labour councillors.
At the Council meeting earlier this month we again proposed small but practical steps to secure the London Living Wage is paid to care workers working for Council contractors, and the motion was successful.
The Council has now made a commitment in principle to pay care workers the London living wage. It has agreed to investigate the costs of making this change, and to lobby Merton's MPs and central Government for sufficient funding to make the changes.
The new Morden Leisure Centre is on track to open this Autumn. However, earlier this month, we learned a #changingplaces toilet (an accessible toilet with changing table and hoist) had been moved from the original plans.
A local Lib Dem member raised the issue on social media, and with a concerted effort by residents, campaign groups, and councillors, Merton Council finally changed their mind and announced that a #changingplaces toilet will once again be included in centre.
We’re very pleased by the news, as we want to ensure that Merton is a leading example in inclusion and diversity. You can see councillors - including Lib Dem leader Cllr Anthony Fairclough - questioning the councillor in charge as to how this happened, and about the process – so it doesn’t happen again, here on YouTube, with subtitles.
Conservative cuts leave hospitals full, and patients waiting for treatment. Patients face cancelled operations and long delays at A&E as the NHS struggles through another winter crisis.
In the last six weeks of 2017, 825 ambulances were forced to wait outside Kingston, St George's, and St Helier & Epsom hospitals for at least 30 minutes - many over an hour. Hospital beds at Kingston and St George's hospitals were nearly full for most of late November and December.
Care 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.