Press Release: 18th June 2021

Release: For Immediate Release

Kent Labour call on KCC to Renew Carers Strategy

Kent Labour Councillors have called upon Kent County Council to produce a new Carers Strategy, on account of the present document not having been updated since June 2009.

The document was produced after the Labour Government produced a national carers strategy in 2008 which sought to ‘put carers at the heart of communities’ and set out the government’s 10-year strategy for giving support to carers.  When publishing their response document, the following year KCC ‘committed to deliver the national strategy in 5 years rather than the suggested 10.’

Adult Social Care Shadow Cabinet Members, Cllrs Kelly Grehan and Jackie Meade have  highlighted the inadequacy of the situation.

Labour spokesperson for Adult Social Care Kelly Grehan (Dartford North East) said ‘1 in 9 adults in Kent are Carers, that’s over 151,000 people.  The Theme of this year’s Carers week was ‘making carers visible’ but it seems like in Kent they have been forgotten, with a strategy not revisited for 12 years, despite the claim when it was published that it would be met in five.  Kent’s carers deserve better than this. Among those providing more than 50 hours a week of unpaid care, this comes at a cost that is equivalent to the loss of 18 days in full health for every 1 year spent caring and expectations on carers are growing – with 7 in 10 carers doing more – on average an extra 10 hours caring/week – during coronavirus outbreak.  Yet here in Kent there is no updated strategy of support.’

Cllr Jackie Meade (Folkestone East) said ‘Carers save this country a fortune by providing 90% of the care delivered for the princely sum of £67.25 per week.  We owe it to them to support them.  As a former carer myself I know the importance of carers and I am furious that here in Kent they are reliant on a strategy which was written four Prime Ministers ago.  Sadly, so much has changed since then with austerity and not for the better.’

Young carers have also been, seemingly forgotten with them last discussed as an agenda item at KCC in 2010 – a lifetime ago for many of Kent’s young carers.

NOTES

Kent Strategy (2009) https://www.kent.gov.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0006/12687/kent-adult-carers-strategy.pdf

KCC Young Carers Update (2010) https://democracy.kent.gov.uk/mgAi.aspx?ID=12969

National Strategy (2008) https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-national-carers-strategy

State of Caring Report (2020)  https://www.carersfirst.org.uk/kent/state-of-caring-survey-2020

For more details contact Kelly Grehan 07983535659

PRESS RELEASE – KENT LABOUR – 7 June 2021
Release: For Immediate Release
STATEMENT ON THE CONSERVATIVE THREAT TO NOT FULFIL ITS STATUTORY DUTIES – AGAIN.
Kent County Council has announced via a press statement that it once again seeks to forgo its statutory Duty of Care legal duty for vulnerable children who happen to be unaccompanied asylum seekers or refugees. This is a failure of both this Conservative Administration at Kent and in Government. This is the second time that this Conservative Administration has been content to allow Kent County Council to be acting illegally by not fulfilling its statutory duties.
The Conservatives have been in control for the past 11 years both at Government and even longer at Kent County Council and here again, these vulnerable children and young people are caught in the middle of a political row between the Government providing enough money to support these young people and Kent County Council that want to pass these young people on across the country. We hear a lot at Kent from the Administration and Senior Officers about the need for KCC to support only the vulnerable rather than universal provision. This rhetoric rings hollow when some of the most vulnerable are used in a political game by two Conservative Administrations.
Kent County Council has a legal duty of care for these children and young people, just as it does for all children and young people that come into the care of Kent County Council. So, this begs the question given that this is the second such failure of this policy following other failures including in SEND, where is the accountability for this failure and who is ultimately accountable?
It has long been this Labour Group’s policy that Government should fully fund local government for the services it provides to local people on its behalf, and this long-established principle has been destroyed by the years of ongoing austerity placing the burden on the people of Kent. We have heard from successive recent Prime Ministers that austerity is over even during the Pandemic, but clearly it is not.
We agree that Government needs to find a long-term solution with Kent County Council in relation to those vulnerable children and young people, including fully funding so that other services do not suffer, but the approach KCC has taken to challenge the Government in a game of brinkmanship shows a breakdown of communication and a lack of will of both institutions to fulfil the statutory Duty of Care that these young people need.
It seems all these many years of ongoing dialogue between the Government, Home Office and the Conservative KCC Administration and Senior Officers have failed. Maybe they have the wrong address or phone number as the current Home Secretary is clearly able to move quickly to support Conservative members when she wishes to according to allegations in media reports.
The Leader of the Labour Group, Dr Lauren Sullivan said, “Following the SEND Ofsted/CQC failure in 2019 and now this second attempt by the Conservative Administration to avoid legal duties this begs serious questions about what else KCC would be willing not to deliver as a statutory service? Where and who is accountable for this ongoing failure?
This decision taken by the KCC Conservative Administration will be fully scrutinised by the Labour Group to explore these failures, seek out accountability as this seems to indicate that politics is more of a priority than providing a duty of care in Kent.”
This statement is supported by every Member of the Labour Group
Cllr Dr Lauren Sullivan
Cllr Karen Constantine
Cllr Mel Dawkins
Cllr Jackie Meade
Cllr Barry Lewis
Cllr Kelly Grehan
Cllr Alister Brady
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