Merton Labour fail to spend Government money on Adult Social Care.
In the last financial year (2017/18), central government gave Merton Council £2.7m to spend on Adult Social Care. However, budget papers for consideration by the Council at its meeting on Wednesday 28 February show that, rather than spending the money on some of the most vulnerable people in our community, they have instead squirreled it away. At the same time Labour are putting your Council Tax up by 3% again this year and by up to 4.99% in 2019.
Of this £2.7m grant from central government, Labour-run Merton has spent £1 million on a computer system and pushed the rest (£1.7 m) into the next financial year. At the same time they are raising an Adult Social Care (ASC) precept of 1% to spend on services but have tucked an additional £467k they have just been given by central government out of sight.
Councillor Oonagh Moulton, said:
“It is a scandal. Labour are bleating that they need more money but they are not spending what the Government have given them. It is unbelievable, but the facts are there in papers for the Budget Council Meeting.
“I don’t know what kind of socialists Merton Labour think they are but it is a cruel trick to pretend to be the friend of the disadvantaged and disabled and hold money back to make a political point.”
Cabinet papers for 18 September 2017: p268 para 2.6.5 details additional Government funding of £2,745,896 for 2017/18 and future years. Only c.£1m has been spent on the ‘Social Care System’ (computer) and the remaining £1.746m can be found in the papers for the Budget Council on p328 (Appendix 8) in the Section ‘Grants and Contributions’ on the line Adult Social Care grants ie starts at £Nil with a positive in year net movement of +£1.746m (https://democracy.merton.gov.uk/documents/b10437/Supplementary%20Agenda%20-%20Item%204%20Business%20Plan%202018-22%20Wednesday%2028-Feb-2018%2019.15%20Council.pdf?T=9).
Cabinet papers for 19 February 2018: p264/5 at para 2.1.3 details an additional Government Grant ‘for elderly and vulnerable citizens’ of £467,000 for Merton. This does not appear anywhere in the Budget Council papers and is apparently being held ‘in a suspense account’ as additional contingency. Other adjustments detailed in the same Cabinet papers have been made to the Budget Council pack.
In short, Conservative Councillors say if Merton Labour are not spending or planning to spend what they receive in Government grants – which exceed the money raised locally by the ASC precept – then they cannot argue that they are not receiving enough from the Government to fund ASC.