At last night’s Reading Borough Council full meeting, Reading Liberal Democrats Councillors tabled an amendment on a Labour motion on maternity pay and family cuts. Raised by Leader of the LibDems on Reading Borough Council, Cllr Daisy Benson, it was backed by the Conservative and Independent Councillors.
Speaking on the amendment, Cllr Benson said: “This motion is a cynical move by Labour in Reading. Ed Balls and Ed Miliband have not said they would reverse any of these cuts.’
‘Time and again Labour are very clear about which cuts they are against but have no ideas about what they would do if they were in government.’
‘Is it any wonder very few people are willing to trust Labour near the economy again.
‘In contrast, Liberal Democrats working in Coalition have taken a range steps to help families on low and middle incomes in Reading despite massive pressure on the public finances – including increasing spending on Reading’s poorest children to help improve their life chances, cutting income tax bills and making childcare more affordable.”
Notes to Editors:
Original amendment document by Cllr Daisy Benson
Below is published in full an e-mail from Daisy Benson, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, to Penny Henrion, Chair of Berkshire West PCT.
I was disappointed to read that Berkshire West PCT was placed 93rd out of 105 local authorities for spending on carers services by the recent Princess Trust for Carers Report.
The fact that the Trust had earmarked only 0.018% of its £658m budget for carers I find pretty shocking – given the increase in spending by this Government on carers.
I really welcome the extra spending that has been announced – an extra £150,000 to help carers as reported in this week’s Reading Chronicle.
However, given Reading Borough Council estimates we have between eleven and sixteen thousand carers in Reading – an significant increase on previous years I am concerned that this spending is still not at the level it is needed – given the demand that we know exists in our community.
I would like to know how this money will be spent and how much of it will be spent on services in Reading.
Reading Borough Council and partners have done significant work in recent years on a Carers Strategy. This has been tailored to deliver on the priorities identified by local carers – the top one being getting access to breaks.
Last year when I was Lead Member for Adult Social care I approved an extra £50,000 from the Council’s budget to expand the Carers Opportunities Fund which was set up to give carers access to breaks and other additional support of their choosing and as far as I know my successor Cllr Orton has done the same this year.
I would be most grateful if you could outline for me how you plan to support carers in the future and how you will be working to ensure that the £400 million pounds that has been committed is spent on what it was intended – breaks for carers.
Cllr Daisy Benson
Leader, Liberal Democrat Group, Reading Borough Council
Liberal Democrat Councillor, Redlands ward
Cllr Daisy Benson, Group Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group on Reading Borough Council and former Lead Member for Social Care is urging Labour Lead Councillor for Social Care Cllr Mike Orton to add his name to calls for reform to social care funding ahead of the publication of an independent review on July 4.
Andrew Dilnot, Independent Chair of the Commission on funding of care and support is due to publish his recommendations to the Coalition Government on reforming social care funding next week and the Local Government Association which represents councils is campaigning for action.
Cllr Benson has written to Cllr Orton and urging him to add his name to a declaration put forward by the Local Government Association.
Cllr Daisy Benson said:
“The current system of funding social care is broken and I am aware it causes many older people and families in Reading huge anxiety.”
“Social care funding arrangements including the level at which people contribute to their care are set by Government not local councils.”
“With a growing aging population there is an urgent need to reform social care funding to ensure it is fairer and more sustainable.”
“There is a danger that this issue could be kicked into the long grass and I think that would be a huge missed opportunity to make the current system better for everyone.”
“It is essential that all politicians from all political parties put politics aside and work together at national level to sort out social care funding to ensure everyone regardless of income can be happy, health and secure in old age.”