'It’s ridiculous’ Hammond facing backbench rebellion over social care funding for elderly

Posted on Feb 7 2018 - 7:37am by admin

Angry Tory MPs have threatened to vote with Labour to defeat the Local Finance Settlement today over a failure to include the number of pensioners living council areas when divvying up funding.

The Daily Express has learnt that up to 24 Tory MPs are willing to rebel on the issue, particularly ones representing hard pressed rural areas which have become popular retirement destinations.

If a deal cannot be struck then ministers face at them least embarrassment over another rebellion but could also suffer a damaging defeat.

Rebel leader Daniel Kawczynski has been holding frantic talks this week to try to strike a deal.

The Shrewsbury MP, whose constituency is now one of the top five destinations for retirement, said: “It’s ridiculous.” 

“We have had six years of council tax freezes and it has put a big squeeze on their finances.

“The problem is that rural constituencies like mine are having to pick up an increasingly large bill for adult social care because so many people choose to retire there.

“When you consider that 98 per cent of the health and social care costs for each individual supposedly occurs in their last year it shows the enormous pressure on councils like mine.”

He went on: “Despite this the calculations for local government finance do not take this into consideration.”

Mr Kawczynski has is a leading member of a group of 24 Tory MPs voicing concerns about the settlement.

He has made it clear he and others are willing to rebel unless the Government comes up with more money.

He said: “It’s not an easy thing for me to do. This would be the first time I rebelled in 13 years since I was first elected.”

The threatened rebellion has underlined the precarious state of the Government which needs the nine DUP MPs from Northern Ireland to maintain its majority since the election.

A previous threatened rebellion saw the Government agree to fund the abortions of Northern Ireland women in England, while Theresa May suffered a defeat during her EU withdrawal bill when enough Remainer Tories teamed up with Labour on an amendment guaranteeing a final vote on the Brexit deal.

Last night ministers made an offer of extra cash to help with funding for adult social care and the rural services delivery grant.

The money includes  an extra £150 million in 2018/19 for adult social care.

There is also an offer of an extra £31m in funding for rural authorities taking the total to £81 million.

Local Government Secretary Sajid Javid said: “This settlement strikes a balance between relieving growing pressure on local government whilst ensuring that hard-pressed taxpayers do not face excessive bills.

“We have listened to representations made and delivered on these requests: two years of real terms increases in resources, more freedom and fairness, and greater certainty to plan and secure value for money.”

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