Brighton and Hove City Councillors today agreed a joint health and well-being strategy setting out priorities for creating a healthier, more equal city. The strategy was launched in the context of significant budget cuts proposed by the Labour council to public health, adults’ and children’s services.
The launch of the strategy follows a report released this week by the think tank International Longevity Centre – UK, which claimed that Chancellor George Osborne’s announcement of a 2% council tax social precept has done little more than “paper over the cracks” in adult social care. The paper, titled ‘The end of formal adult social care’, said that the outlook for adult social care and domiciliary care looked “bleak”.
Green councillor Phélim Mac Cafferty, who voted to support the strategy, expressed deep concerns as to how achievable the strategy could be in the current context:
“We wholeheartedly support the aspirational aims of this strategy to make Brighton and Hove a healthier, more equal city. However we are deeply concerned that the Labour council’s budget proposals for 2016/17 will undermine efforts to make progress on these priorities.
“Labour are again proving themselves the masters of spin as they try to convince people that services can improve while funding is dramatically stripped away. How will inequality be reduced when Labour is choosing to drive up costs of council tax for the poorest households? How can we have safe, healthy happy children, young people and families when we see massive cuts to children centres and youth services? How can we give people the chance of living and ageing well amid £22m cuts to adult social care, which will see significant cuts to care and support for people living in their own home?
“The Labour council seem to be completely out of touch in regards to the scale of the cuts being proposed next year. Under Labour’s proposed budget, this strategy is in danger of becoming worth less than the paper it is written on. Above all, we need the Conservative national government to make a meaningful commitment, beyond what’s already on the table, to meeting the true costs of social care”.