Mr Stuart Barker Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Health Services in the County of Devon.
Thank you for your prompt reply. Although I speak strongly my motives are good. You know that. People who put themselves up for election to public bodies often become Aunt Sallies; many of the people chucking the wet sponges would not take on such responsibilities themselves. I know that local government is imprisoned by several vicious circles. For instance, you end with
'This (1.9% rise) raised just over £6m but we lost £3m because by raising council tax we lost the government council tax support grant so the net gain was just over £3m – it doesn’t go far towards the £110m.'
I thought this exemplified some of your difficulty. Kafka portrayed it in The Castle - Das Schloss.
Thank you for your letter, it is difficult to disagree with the direction of your comments, the position we are in isn’t something that I would, or have chosen. Having been fighting to maintain budgets and to deliver new services for the last five years it is very hard to find that the money available is no longer there having been taken away by circumstances out of our control. I could not agree more with your comments about looking after very elderly frail, vulnerable people. These are very difficult and emotional decisions which nobody should have to consider, however, if we want to continue to fund as many people as possible for as long as possible then we cannot carry on the way we are. If you remove a third of the money from your pocket what are you going to do if you want the same things you have worked for but find some of them are costing twice as much as they would if you bought elsewhere.
Regarding the announced policy of closing Devon County Council Care Homes
Mr Stuart Barker Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Health Services Devon County Council
Having attended the Health and Well Being Committee last Monday afternoon, I later saw you on BBC Spotlight SW announcing the closure of 20 care homes in Devon. I was angered by the manner of the announcement and very disturbed by the content and rationale.
This letter is no attempt to 'shoot the messenger' but to question what is going on in our country as presently directed by a Coalition government where no party gained a majority, and by your council, in this large and wonderful county.