New research reveals the Government has misled the public by claiming it provided “new money” for social care, according to Labour’s Andy Burnham.
The former Health Secretary, who is now Labour candidate for mayor of Greater Manchester, claims one in three councils faces cuts in Government funding next year.
Mr Burnham claims 57 of the 157 local authorities that provide social care are set to lose out by £40 million, and says he wants Theresa May to intervene to tackle the funding crisis.
Earlier this month Communities Secretary Sajid Javid boasted of “new money” as he announced that town halls could raise council tax by 3% a year for the next two years to fund social care bills.
But Mr Burnham told Sky News: “Theresa May’s Government are playing a dangerous game on social care. They promised help for struggling councils but it is now clear that, while they were giving with one hand, they were taking away with the other.
“Far from acting on the social care crisis, the brutal reality is that the Government is deepening it and inflicting even more cuts on councils in some of the poorest parts of England.
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“Social care has already been cut to the bone. If this further round of cuts goes ahead, it could have serious consequences for the NHS.
“That is why I am calling on Theresa May to intervene in this row and give a clear guarantee that no council in England will face cuts in central Government funding next April.”
Mr Burnham says that in the Local Government Finance Settlement Mr Javid diverted funds from a New Home Bonus scheme to one-off social care grants in 2017/18 to deal with the growing care crisis.
But the Labour MP says his analysis reveals that a third of councils will be worse off as they receive less from the new grant than the housing scheme, because struggling councils had been able to use the non-protected housing scheme to fund social care services.
For example, says Mr Burnham, cutbacks in Government funding for town halls will see London’s Tower Hamlets losing £3.4 million.
He also claims that while Mr Javid explicitly claimed in the Commons that Birmingham City Council would benefit from his changes, his own analysis reveals a cut worth £1.3 million.
And in Greater Manchester, according to Mr Burnham, four councils – Salford, Manchester, Bolton and Tameside – will lose a combined £3.5 million.
Barbara Keeley, Labour’s shadow minister for care and older people, added: “Social care is in crisis. It is a crisis created by the Tory Government inflicting six years of savage cuts on council budgets, leaving thousands of people struggling to manage without care.
“Now Tory ministers have let down older and vulnerable people in Salford, Manchester, Bolton and Tameside by diverting vitally-needed funding out of council budgets.
“Failing to put needed funding into social care in the winter months could mean many more vulnerable people are left without the care they need.”