There’s been a lot of talk about localism and empowering of local government this week.
There’s also been a perfect example of what the Conservatives really mean by that.
The Better Care fund was always a way for the government to rhetorically suggest that they were ‘protecting’ NHS funding while reducing the impact of the blindingly short sighted cuts to local government that are threatening adult social care across the country.
I was really proud that in Reading we were making the best of the situation and working together locally to plan some really good projects.
In Reading councillors, the council officers and the local CCGs and other NHS partners have been working flat out to get our Better Care Fund projects approved. We had several million pounds worth of projects worked up: from hospital at home to reablement.
As a result Reading was one of only 14 councils in the country, and the only one in our region, due to sign off our care fund by 9th July, that is Wednesday.
This didn’t happen. Because of the short sightedness of this government who announced on Friday that they were moving the goalposts (again) but this time to the point where we don’t know what we will be able to go ahead with.
This is symptomatic of the general approach this government is taking to adult social care and indeed to government. They are trying, and often failing, to crisis manage without thinking about building a better society for the long term or the impact on individuals, families and communities.