Lobby Kirklees Council meeting today to oppose the Sustainability and Transformation Plan

Kirklees Council is meeting today, 18 Jan 2017, at 6pm. There will be a lobby at 5pm outside Huddersfield Town Hall.

There are two motions for the Kirklees Council meeting, one on Social care and NHS underfunding, the other on the Social Care Tax Precept.

Paul Cooney, Secretary of Huddersfield Keep Our NHS Public, will make a deputation statement to the Council, reminding them of the the grave dangers in the West Yorkshire and Harrogate Sustainability and Transformation plan, which aims to cut over £1 billion  NHS and social care spending by 2020/21 in line with the underfunding for the “footprint” (area).

He will point out the secrecy that characterises the STP,  with the continued failure to publish its appendices and related documents that have been sent to NHS England, and no public information about the 2017-19 STP operational plans and contracts that the CCGs signed off and sent to NHS England by 23rd December 2016.

He will charge Councillors with their duty to  formally call for all the detailed plans to be published and to explain this to the public using all the media possible.

The real causes of the NHS “crisis”

While 999 Call for the NHS welcomes Kirklees Councillors’ concern about the ongoing crisis in the NHS, we think that the motion on Social care and NHS underfunding does not properly identify the causes of this crisis, when it says that they are:

“unprecedented demand, and unprecedented, chronic underfunding by this Conservative Government.”

Our view is that the real cause is the decades -long  attempt by successive governments to dismantle the NHS, that started in 1988 with Letwin and Redwood’s Centre for Policy Studies paper Britain’s Biggest Enterprise – ideas for radical reform of the NHS.

Kenneth Clarke ordered it should not reach the public because it would make the Tories unelectable.  Instead, successive governments have carried out its proposals by stealth.

If the STPs are carried out, they will conclude Letwin’s and Redwood’s goal of dismantling the NHS as a national, publicly owned funded and run health service that provides comprehensive health care for all who have a clinical need for it, free at the point of need.

The STPs are geared to open the NHS to effective takeover by American health insurance and digitech companies.

This is already well under way,  with big contracts in both commissioning support and frontline health services awarded to Optum (the United Health subsidiary), and a former boss of Cerner (the US digitech company), in an STP leadership position in NHS England where he is pushing digital technology as a key aspect of STPs.

To make this politically possible, the government is running down the NHS so that people believe it is a busted organisation that only privatisation can save.

For this reason we have to stop the STPs

To do this, our campaign demands:

  • An end to ideologically driven, economically illiterate and counterproductive “austerity” economics – ie cutting public spending on the assumption that this will cut the national debt
  • Restore NHS funding to an appropriate level with the necessary annual increase/year to cover cost inflation
  • Stop and reverse the marketisation and privatisation of the NHS, through passing the NHS Reinstatement Bill – this will solve the problems of NHS fragmentation and also save around £12bn/year that is estimated to be the cost of running the NHS as a market (based on NAO estimate that it costs around 10% of the NHS budget)
  • Fully fund and nationalise social care so that it too is publicly owned, funded and run as a service that is free at the point of need to all who need it – and so more easily integrated with NHS care.
  • An end to neoliberal health policies that define health as a matter of individual responsibility and ignore the need to address social, economic and environmental determinants of ill health
  • Stop the STPs

Here are the motions.

Motion submitted in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 14 as to Social care and NHS Underfunding

To consider the following Motion in the names of Councillors Sheard, Kendrick, Pandor, Hill and Ahmed.

 

‘This Council is extremely concerned about the on-going crisis in Social Care and Health (via the NHS). This has been caused by unprecedented demand, and unprecedented, chronic underfunding by this Conservative Government.
Starving our social care system of resources puts lives at risk and destroys the quality of life of countless residents of Kirklees.
As local representatives it is our duty to stand up for Kirklees residents and express our deep concern.
The Motion asks that the leaders of all our political groups sign a joint letter to the relevant Secretaries of State, and campaign through local MPs and the LGA, for an adequate funding of social care and the NHS.’

Motion submitted in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 14 as to Social Care Tax Precept

To consider the following Motion in the names of Councillors N Turner, A Pinnock, K Pinnock, Wilkinson, Eastwood, Burke, Lawson and Marchington:

‘This Council;

(i) notes the Local Government Finance Settlement announcement in December 2016, which will allow councils to raise council tax by up to 1.99 percent in 2017/18 to fund local services without the need for a referendum, and also allows England’s social care authorities to increase council tax by a further 3 percent in 2017/18, with income from the precept being used to spend on social care.
(ii) acknowledges that the additional council tax income will not significantly alleviate the pressure on social care now and in the long-term and the measures outlined in the Settlement fall well short of what is required to protect care services for elderly and vulnerable people.

(iii) is disappointed that the government has not given councils additional money to tackle the shortfall in social care funding, with social care now a national crises.

(iv) notes that the additional flexibility to vary the council tax precept over the remaining years of the Spending Review is not new money and does not address the £2.6 billion funding gap facing social care by the end of the decade. The estimated shortfall in the social care budget in Kirklees is £21 million over the next two financial years.

(v) notes that the announcement of additional funding for social care from the New Homes Bonus is not new money, and is instead a redistribution of funding already promised to councils.

(vi) supports the Local Government Association’s argument that increasing the council tax precept ‘raises different amounts of money for social care in different parts of the country unrelated to need and will add an extra financial burden on already struggling households.’

(vii) is concerned that by bringing forward council tax raising powers in the provisional Local Government Finance Settlement, the government has simply shifted the burden of tackling a national crisis on to councils and their residents. This will increase the tax burden on Kirklees residents by approximately £9 million over two years.

(viii) calls for an urgent national review of social care, with involvement from local government leaders and policy makers.

(i) calls for the government to acknowledge the wide range of charities and care providers calling for an urgent injection of genuinely new additional government funding to protect services caring for the elderly and vulnerable people, which include the cross-party Local Government Association, NHS Clinical Commissioners, The King’s Fund, NHS Confederation, NHS providers, the Association of Directors of Adult Social Care Services, Age UK and the Care and Support Alliance.

(ii) calls for Kirklees Council Leader and Chief Executive to write to our local MPs, conveying our deep concern that vulnerable people, who need care and support, are not going to get any new funding from central government, and to ask our MPs to challenge the Government over this issue.’

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