The Government announced last week the allowance for Local Authorities to raise the social care precept on the Council Tax. As the High Peak is a two tier area, that will be the decision of Derbyshire County Council rather than High Peak Borough Council. I have received communications from several people on the decision with varying views, but the issue of long term social care is something that is looming large and needs to be addressed. The raising of the precept will certainly give extra money into the system, however I believe it is only a small part of a solution to how we care for our elderly in their later years. There are varying estimates of how much this will cost and there are different theories on how the money can and will be found.
At the present time, social care is administered by local government whilst general healthcare falls to the NHS and there needs to be a seamless join between the two services. It was suggested to me that social care be taken into the NHS, but I would be concerned that this would further increase the size and remit of the NHS. The inescapable truth is that whoever delivers the service there is a cost to bear and that cost is increasing with the aging population. The Dilnot Commission of 2011 made certain recommendations, but action needs to be taken and the nub of the issue is where the money will be found. Already suggestions are being made and I would welcome any thoughts constituents may have on this issue of growing concern to us all.
As we approach the end of the year and Parliament looks to rise for the Christmas and New Year recess, we can reflect back on 2016, which had events that will live long in the memory and will doubtless be the subject of discussion and debate for many years to come. The EU Referendum of June 23rd and the immediate consequences of that will dominate the memory of 2016 for many, with David Cameron standing down as Prime Minister and Theresa May taking over. In the USA the election of Donald Trump also came as a surprise to pundits and pollsters alike, and we will enter 2017 with the consequences of both those events unfolding throughout the New Year and beyond.
Finally, as this is my last column of the year, may I take this opportunity to wish everyone across the High Peak a Merry Christmas and a peaceful and prosperous New Year. Over the festive period we should all spare a thought for those who are less fortunate, and for whom Christmas may not be the happy time that it is for many of us.