Essex MPs urged to call for fair funding for care reforms

Essex County Council has called on the county’s MPs to speak out in Parliament about legislation that will see huge changes to the social care system and could cost the authority an extra £40m in the first year of implementation alone.

The Care Bill, one of the most important pieces of social care legislation since the 1940s, is being debated in Parliament today and the council has briefed MPs on the issues causing concern at County Hall.

Cllr John Aldridge, cabinet member for Adult Social Care, said: “There is much to welcome about this Bill. It supports our focus on prevention to save on costly acute care, gives greater certainty to residents about care costs and gives formal recognition to the role of carers who play such a vital part in our communities.

“However, we are concerned that the Government has significantly under-estimated the cost to local authorities of implementing and then running a new system and we urge the Government to put in place adequate funding.

“We estimate that implementing the Care Bill will cost Essex an additional £40m in the first year alone and as yet there is no clear indication that extra funding will be provided to pay for this. We’re also asking that Government is realistic about implementation and shifts its target for a year to April 2016.”

Cllr Aldridge added: “We are clear that the social care system needs major reform, but that reform must be fair. That’s why we’re asking MPs to intervene now.”