Hammersmith & Fulham Council has announced it is investing an extra £3.4million per year of new ongoing funding into adult social care.
It’s been made possible using resources saved by cutting waste elsewhere in the council and negotiating better deals with contractors and developers.
This new funding will ensure H&F Council can improve support for some of the borough’s most vulnerable residents, while also freezing council tax. This comes despite huge cuts in the Government grant to councils.
“It is a key priority for this administration to invest in better care for the elderly and disabled and to do this without increasing the cost of the council to residents,” said Cllr Max Schmid, Cabinet Member for Finance. “While the government is trying to force councils to increase council tax by four per cent, we have instead taken a ruthless approach to cutting waste”.
“We’re also the only council in the country to have abolished all charges for home care services for older and disabled people, getting rid of what was in effect a tax on disability.”
“We have paid for this by making major efficiencies elsewhere and taking a ruthless approach to cutting wastefulness. That includes better negotiations and slashing spend on senior management, back-office IT, glossy magazines and lamppost banners.
The extra investment for the elderly and disabled and the freeze on council tax are both set to be confirmed at council meeting on 22 February.
John O'Connell, chief executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said: “When hard-pressed families are struggling with ever rising bills, it is crucial that councils do everything they can to ease the burden on residents.
“Hammersmith & Fulham Council has a proud record of cutting council tax so residents will be relieved that their bills won't be going up next year.”
The new council money for adult social care is in addition to a one-off £900,000 grant that the council has secured from the Government for social care pressures.
Support for the disabled
The council has also guaranteed to continue funding the Independent Living Fund, an allowance for disabled people that was cut by the Government in July 2016.
Hammersmith resident Victoria, who is a tetraplegic wheelchair user says the council continuing to provide this extra funding and abolishing home care charges has ‘had a huge impact’. She said; “Social care is a human right. It’s an essential service like education or the NHS. It’s not ethical to charge for it, in effect it’s an extra tax.
“The Independent Living Fund paid for a quarter of my care. I wouldn’t be able to go to the theatre, the cinema or go to see friends without it and it would have made it difficult to recruit personal assistants and keep the continuity.
“Now I can choose personal assistants who have the right skills and who I get along with.”
Our commitment to elderly and disabled residents
- The council abolished charges for home care in 2015, the only council in the country to do so.
- We’ve also abolished 15-minute-only home care visits, to make sure everyone has the time they need for proper care.
- We’ve also slashed charges for other services such as meals on wheels, which have been cut from £4.50 to £2.
- We will continue to pay the London Living Wage for all care staff – to make sure the quality of our services is maintained.
- We are the first borough in London to scrap council tax payments for care leavers.
- The council has also recognised the special contribution of our foster carers – by paying their council tax bills.