Cuts to Adult Social Care for 2016-17


Merton Council is planning to cut £5 million from Adult Social Care next year alone.

This year the consultation process has been an improvement on last year, however, at Merton CIL we still have serious concerns over the way the decision-making process around budget-setting is being handled by the Council. We raised the issue in a number of meetings with the Council, and we wrote to the Council on 07th December 2015 to raise our concerns formally. You can read our letter here: OpenlettertoLBM071215

We also responded in full to the consultation process, as we felt it was important to engage with the consultation despite our concerns. We also encouraged our members to respond to the consultation, and supported Healthwatch Merton to run a number of focus groups around the borough, including hosting a group at our regular Thursday Members Group.

You can read our consultation response here:MertonCILresponseASCconsultation07122015

We wrote to all Councillors on 18th January urging them to listen to the consultation responses Letter to all councillors 18012016

Our January newsletter was published on 27th Jan and contains lots of information on the cuts including what we said to councillors at the Scrutiny meeting on 12th January on page 14 CIL Matters Winter 2015-2016 Newsletter Issue 14

We got a response from Stephen Alambritis dated 24th Feb, received 2nd March saying bed-blocking by the NHS needs to be resolved. You can read the letter here

We wrote to all Councillors on 27th February again urging them to listen to the disabled people and older people affected by the cuts, and to act in the best interests of those people MCIL Letter to all Councillors 27022016


Find out more about what other people said about cuts below:

Merton Voluntary Service Council sent a letter to Councillor Stephen Alambritis, Leader of the Council: MVSC Letter Councillor Stephen Alambritis

See Councillor Alambritis’ response to MVSC here: Read the Leader’s response.

The VCS Health and Social Care Forum wrote an open letter to the Council to raise serious concerns expressed by the Forum members on 25 January 2016 about the failure of Merton Council to adequately manage devastating cuts to Adult Social Care. The Forum letter to the Council

Age UK Merton Set up a petition and sent an open letter to the Council which you can read here Age UK Merton letter and petition

Healthwatch Merton spoke with service users and wrote a report outlining the devasting impact cuts would have. Read the report here: Read the full report here 

Healthwatch Merton also wrote two letters to the Council, you can read them here:

Check out Merton Council‘s website to find out what the consultation covered and what was said – surveys, letters and more: Link to Council Papers

Adults First and the Carers Partnership Group have written a number of powerful letters on the issue:

What the politicians are saying:

  • On 12th January 2016 Healthier Communities and Older People Overview and Scrutiny Panel resolves to send back the majority of planned cuts to Cabinet for reconsideration here
  • Leader of the Council, Labour Councillor Stephen Alambritis announces Council Tax will be frozen 15 Jan 2016 Newsletter from Stephen Alambritis
  • In a survey by the Merton Park Independents, over 90% of people said they back increases to Council Tax to support Adult Social Care. You can see their website here
  • In an open letter, Liberal Democrat Cllr Mary-Jane Jeanes has called on the Council to increase Council Tax by 2% to help save services 24 Jan 2016. In an open letter, Cllr Mary-Jane Jeanes
  • On 15th February Merton Council Cabinet vote to adopt a £1.3 million “mitigation fund” for Adult Social Care and Children, Schools and Families for 2016-17. See details here
  • Merton Conservatives intend to vote for the Adult Social Care precept Conservative Party Press Release 23 Feb 2016
  • Wimbledon Constituency Labour Party intend to vote for the Adult Social Care precept (from Feb 24 2016 newsletter) Wimbledon Constituency Labour Party
  • A cross-party (Independent, Conservative, Lid Dem) amendment to the budget is put forward to implement the Adult Social care precept at 1.7% which would not cost council tax payers a penny more. This motion failed. You can fund out more in the press articles below and in this link here

More about the reaction to cuts in the news (let us know if we’ve missed any)

  • November 24 2015 Wimbledon Guardian: What do you think of £5 million cuts to adult social care? Let Merton Council know before it’s too late: Here
  • December 23 2015 Disability News Service: Council is trying to push through care cuts without proper scrutiny: here
  • January 13 2016 Wimbledon Guardian: Scrutiny panel votes unanimously to challenge Merton Council over “devastating” cuts to adult social care Here
  • January 14 2016 Disability News Service:Council’s ‘wicked’ care cuts are ‘like social cleansing’, say service-users here
  • January 27 2016 The Wimbledon Guardian: “The majority of the Labour group are with me” insists Merton council leader as divisions over cuts increase here
  • February 3 2016 The Wimbledon Guardian : Merton council leader Stephen Alambritis refuses to bend as rebel Labour party urges him to raise tax and ‘save adult social care’ here
  • February 10 2016 The Wimbledon Guardian: “They think protecting council tax is more important than protecting vulnerable people”: Age UK Merton joins fight against adult social care cuts here
  • February 16 2016 The Wimbledon Guardian: ‘Freezing council tax and cutting adult social care is a betrayal of Labour values’ – party split as Merton Council cuts are approved here
  • Feb 22 2016 The Wimbledon Guardian: Merton Labour accused of intentionally silencing and misinforming Councillors in leaked email dispute over adult social care cuts here
  • Feb 24 2016 The Wimbledon Guardian: Merton Labour budget may be facing defeat as opposition prepares to fight against adult social care cuts here
  • Mar 2nd 2016 Community Care: Council cuts proposals ‘fly in face of Care Act’ and risk legal challenge. See article Here
  • Mar 2nd 2016 The Wimbledon Guardian: Social conscience or party loyalty? Merton Labour facing tough decision in tonight’s budget meeting here
  • Mar 3rd 2016 The Wimbledon Guardian: Peter Walker resigns from Merton Council as cuts  to adult social care are passed in the budget here
  • Mar 3rd 2016 The Wimbledon Guardian: Merton’s budget meeting: Here’s what was said by the parties here


and here is what was said about cuts last year…


Cuts to Adult Social Care in Merton Jan 2015

Merton Council is planning to cut £14 million from Adult Social Care over the next 4 years. In addition to writing an open letter to the council we wrote a formal response to the planned cuts. We also supported attendees at our members group to write a response to the plans. Both documents are below.
Members Group Response to cuts 08012015
Merton CIL Response to Cuts 02022015
In summary, we have worked very hard to engage with Council Officers and Councillors on the issue of cuts, the plans for these were made publically available in early December 2014:
  • We have had multiple meetings and conversations with Council Officers, particularly with regards to our concerns over the savings target, the consultation process, the equality analysis and the annual residents survey.
  • We wrote to all Councillors, expressing our concerns around the planned cuts on 17th December 2014. We did not get any replies.
  • We invited all Councillors to come meet our members at our members group on 22nd January. Two came. We also had discussions separately with a few Councillors
  • We wrote an open letter to the Council on 22nd January expressing our concerns. There was no reply.
  • We supported people at our members group to send a response to the consultation on Adult Social Care
  • We sent a formal reponse to the consultation from Merton CIL
  • We supported our members and local disabled people who wanted to run a petition related to the cuts to Adult Social Care, asking the Council to stop, think, consult.
  • We spoke against cuts to Adult Social Care at the Healthier Communities and Older People Overview and Scrutiny Panel on 14th January and 11th February. We supported one of our members to also speak on 14th January about the likely impact of cuts. Our chair, Roy Benjamin, also spoke on 11th Feb about concerns around the consultation process. What Merton CIL said at the Healthier Communities and Older People Overview and Scrutiny Panel on 11th Feb 2015
  • We spoke against cuts to Adult Social Care at the Council’s Cabinetmeeting on 16th February. What Merton CIL said at the Merton Council Cabinet Meeting 16th Feb 2015

Planned cuts to Adult Social Care were passed by Cabinet without any changes despite our work and the hard work of many other groups in the Borough in highlighting the negative impacts of these plans. These cuts will now go on to be approved at Full Council on 4th March 2015.