Sheffield loses out to wealthy Westminster with funding

The man in charge of social care in Sheffield has launched a scathing attack on the Government following the Queen’s Speech.

Tuesday, 15th October 2019, 3:01 pm
Updated Friday, 18th October 2019, 5:15 pm
Coun George Lindars-Hammond, Cabinet member for health and social care

Prime Minister Boris Johnson this week announced plans to allow local authorities to put a two per cent precept on council tax to raise £500m of funding nationally for social care.

But Coun George Lindars-Hammond, Cabinet member for health and social care, said it was an unfair playing field and Sheffield would lose out compared to wealthier authorities.

“This is all raised from council tax which is very unfair in Sheffield because we have a high level of need for social care but our council tax bands are quite low compared with places like Westminster,” he said.

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“In Sheffield we have a large amount of Band A properties but places like Westminster have more Band D and above properties.

“In Sheffield we would raise about £4m with this precept but Westminster would raise multiples of that.

“If Westminster did this precept it would go a long way towards fixing their issues but if we did this in Sheffield it would be unfair because it would mean more money being paid by council tax payers.

“It’s really hitting every person in Sheffield, who generally have a lot less money than those in Westminster.”

Coun Lindards-Hammond said Sheffield had yet to take a decision on the precept and called for fairer funding.

“Funding social care in a fair way is key. We need an extra £50m in Sheffield a year and we have no hope of raising that through the council tax increase. It’s a huge burden and we can’t put that on our citizens.

“Social care demands are also reflective of wider inequalities. If you are on a low income with no savings you are entitled to more support from your local council.

“We have a higher demographic with health inequalities but we have more people to support financially. Most people in Westminster are self funders and pay for most of their care as individuals.

“Since the last General Election, the green paper on social care has been scrapped then the Prime Minister said there would be an election manifesto. Now they are talking about a white paper and draft proposals which is yet another delay.

“They have had nine years to sort this and it’s yet another proposal that I don’t believe is going to be carried out. It feels like rather than trying to fix the system, they are giving a very small amount of money to councils then promising to reform the system without having the courtesy to bring anything forward as to what can be done long term.”