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Social care workers ‘leaving in droves’, Cambridgeshire County Council hears



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Social care workers are leaving their jobs in “droves” to take up better paid work elsewhere such as delivering for Amazon, Cambridgeshire county councillors have been told.

Shire Hall, Cambridgeshire County Council (52988737)
Shire Hall, Cambridgeshire County Council (52988737)

Cllr Richard Howitt (Lab, Petersfield) made the statement at a full council meeting yesterday (November 9) while urging other councillors to back his motion calling for the authority to tell the government that its Social Care Plan had “failed” to deliver on its promise to “fix the crisis in social care”.

Cllr Howitt said there is also “no respite” for care providers, warning councillors that some are facing the “grim prospect” of handing back contracts to the council due because they cannot afford to continue to provide the service.

He told the meeting: “For our valuable care workers and for our care providers it is a slap in the face that the method chosen to fund the health and social care levy, National Insurance, leaves them having to pay extra for their own jobs.”

He added that the motion did acknowledge the need for a cap on care costs, but said that this “promise has also been broken”.

Cllr Howitt said it impacted people “like 74-year-old Steve, from Cambourne, who spent 10 years looking after his wife as her dementia grew worse and worse and is now forced to pay £4,000 per month, as it eventually became impossible for him to cope and she is now forced into residential care”.

“For Steve the announcement is not retrospective so for him and for thousands of others it does not end the fear of having to sell their home to pay for care,” said Cllr Howitt. “Steve understands that the cap on care costs is on care costs, but it's not on accommodation and providers will simply be forced to switch charges on to so-called hotel costs, which mean for the family there is no protection at all.”

Cllr Howitt’s comments were supported by other councillors.

Liberal Democrat leader Cllr Lucy Nethsingha, Cllr Elisa Meschini, leader of the Labour group, and Cllr Tom Sanderson, leader of the Independent group sign the agreement on their rainbow coalition at Cambridgeshire County Council. From left Cllr Tom Sanderson, Cllr Lorna Dupre, Cllr Lucy Nethsingha, Cllr Richard Howitt and Cllr Elisa Meschini. Cllr Lorna Dupre (Lib Dem), and Cllr Richard Howitt (Labour) were part of the negotiating team . Picture: Keith Heppell. (52986621)
Liberal Democrat leader Cllr Lucy Nethsingha, Cllr Elisa Meschini, leader of the Labour group, and Cllr Tom Sanderson, leader of the Independent group sign the agreement on their rainbow coalition at Cambridgeshire County Council. From left Cllr Tom Sanderson, Cllr Lorna Dupre, Cllr Lucy Nethsingha, Cllr Richard Howitt and Cllr Elisa Meschini. Cllr Lorna Dupre (Lib Dem), and Cllr Richard Howitt (Labour) were part of the negotiating team . Picture: Keith Heppell. (52986621)

However, some members of the opposition argued that the motion was simply “Conservative bashing” and did not contain any suggestions to improve the situation.

Cllr Steve Count (Con, March North and Waldersey) described the motion as just containing complaints about “what isn't happening”, and that “no effort whatsoever” had been made to “suggest a way forward”.

He argued that the council’s administration was “getting excuses lined up in advance” and that they “have to find a way to manage” as it is 'their role’.

A majority of councillors voted in favour of the motion, committing the county council to make representations to the government calling for an alternative plan with “genuinely secures reform and funding” to “enable” the council to meet “current pressure, growing demand and unmet need”.

The chief executive will be asked to write to Sajid Javid, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, to call for resources to be provided by the government to “fully compensate” the county council for additional costs arising from social care plan, which Cllr Howitt said was around £1million.

In addition to this the chief executive will also be asked to write to Mr Javid and call for a new social care plan that “genuinely fixes the crisis on social care”.

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