County’s care homes and home care services at breaking point, MP told

Rishi Sunak MP.

The Local Government Minister and Richmond MP has been told immediate action is needed to prevent the deterioration of services available for the most vulnerable people, alongside radical fundraising and cost-cutting moves.

North Yorkshire County councillors have told Richmond MP Rishi Sunak while the Government was developing long-term solutions to finance adult social care, the county’s care homes and home care services were at breaking point.

A meeting of the authority’s Richmond Constituency committee heard the council’s leader, Councillor Carl Les argue continuing a two per cent social care levy on council tax would be unfair on the county as it would raise less money than elsewhere.

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Mr Sunak was also told private care providers already lacked the beds and staff to deliver services and faced losing more staff due to Brexit, while the council lacked the funds to maintain the services.

Councillor David Blades said: “My concern is what is going to happen over the next three to five years.

“It is quite concerning that some of those care homes might not be around by the time you have got this sorted in three to five years time. To me it is an 11th hour situation in our area.”

The authority’s adult social care boss, Councillor Michael Harrison, added: “There just isn’t the beds there.

“It doesn’t matter what any of us do, if there is no bed to go to or if they need care in their home. They just don’t have the staff working for them to do it.”

Former county council leader Councillor John Weighell said when he was first elected almost every local government service was delivered by eight district and one county council, but now there were about 500 organisations, all needing office staff, running the services.

It is understood creating a unitary authority in the county could save the public purse up to £40m – which some councillors say would be sufficient to overcome the crisis facing adult social care.

Mr Sunak told the committee it was “difficult to comment in detail” about the council’s proposals to alleviate adult social care pressures ahead of the Government’s proposals being announced.

He said: “Everybody has got a different view on how to do it. The Government is mulling those things over and will come up with something later this year.”

Stopping short of backing suggestions a unitary authority should be established in the county to save funds, Mr Sunak said councils should examine where work was duplicated for no good reason, but a balance needed to be struck between efficiency and democratic accountability.

He said: “What central government will not do is come and dictate to people in local areas how they should organise their affairs. It is up to each local area to decide how they organise their own local government services.”