Follow the leader: Wakefield Council Leader Peter Box says funding for Adult Social Care should be fair

WED DEMENTIA - DEMENTIA CAN BE ISOLATING (PIC POSED BY MDOEL) 'old man / elderly / oap / lonely / depressed
WED DEMENTIA - DEMENTIA CAN BE ISOLATING (PIC POSED BY MDOEL) 'old man / elderly / oap / lonely / depressed

One of the biggest challenges facing this district, and in fact this country, is the increasing cost of Adult Social Care.

It is something that successive governments have ignored - hoping the problem might go away. It hasn’t - and it’s getting worse.

Peter Box Wakefield Council Leader' 'LOCATION:  Wakefield Town Hall

Peter Box Wakefield Council Leader' 'LOCATION: Wakefield Town Hall

We have an ageing population.

More than 25 per cent of the people living in our area are aged over 60, and by 2030 this will have grown to more than 30 per cent.

But adult social care isn’t just about providing services for older people, it encompasses all types of personal care and practical assistance for our most vulnerable residents aged 18 and over.

The support ranges from helping a person get up on a morning, help with getting dressed and washed, or help with shopping.

It may include access to day centres, care homes or support from carers who work in the home.

Access to Adult Social Care therefore makes a fundamental difference to people’s lives and it can be the difference between simply existing and enjoying life.

I mentioned in my previous column that the government told us to raise an Adult Social Care precept of 2% in order to deal with the growing financial pressures.

It will raise about £2.1 million - but the funding gap in Wakefield is growing by five per cent a year.

So we’ll still be left with an annual deficit of £4.5 million and by 2020 that gap will have grown to around £22 million.

Whist I’m encouraged that there is finally an acknowledgement of the problem, I don’t agree that Council Tax payers should be expected to fill the funding gap.

This is a national issue, and as such, the government need to take responsibility. We need a sustainable solution, not just fire-fighting that won’t provide anything like enough funding.

I believe passionately that there should be fair funding for older people, and I can promise you that this is something Wakefield Council will continue to campaign for.

In the meantime, you and your families have our commitment that we will continue to do all we can, with the funding available, to deliver the best possible Adult Social Care services for our residents.