Merton's Adult Social Care Cuts Under Fire

Plans will reduce care at two South Wimbledon centres

Calls on Merton Council to change its mind over plans to cut day care support for adults as part of a £9m savings package were rejected at a recent full council meeting.

The council plans to save £200,000 on the costs of day care support at its High Path and All Saints centres in South Wimbledon as part of a plan to save £9m on the cost of adult social care.

Conservative Councillors Gilli Lewis-Lavender, Adul Latif and Daniel Holden put forward a motion to the full council meeting on Wednesday (February 4) which called for changes in the proposals.

Their motion proposed that "this Council therefore resolves to urge Cabinet to:

  • Reject the £200,000 cut to day care support for disabled adults provided at the High Path and All Saints day centres, which the administration has chosen to bring forward, and ask officers to identify alternative efficiency savings for 2015-16 that do not impact on front line services; and
  • Ensure there is additional scrutiny by the Overview and Scrutiny Commission or the relevant panel of the £9million of new savings proposals in Adult Social Care which were recently under consultation."

Merton Liberal Democrat Councillor Mary-Jane Jeanes submitted an amendent to the motion, calling on the council to preserving the Independent Living Fund - a further grant which supports people with high support needs.

She said: "Organisations supporting disabled people say that many recipients of the Independent Living Fund are worried about its transfer from central Government to local authorities and this amendment should provide reassurance for the twenty people in Merton who will be affected. Several of them have been relying on the ILF since the 1990s.

"The fund allows people to organise their own care arrangements and may prevent some from needing residential care, which would probably cost tax-payers more in the long run.

"This amendment fits well within the context of Adult Social Care and it is budget neutral. However, we must ensure that everything that we, as a council do, is evaluated properly, which is why I am asking for regular assessments to check the effectiveness of the funding transfer.
"Ring-fencing the funding will allow those who rely on it to carry on with their lives - often very difficult lives -with the independence they have come to expect and which they deserve."

But her amendment was not debated, as no other councillor backed it. The Conservative motion also failed to win enough backing.

  • It has since emerged that options on the issue of the Independent Living Fund will be put to councillors in the next few weeks.

February 6, 2015