Cheshire East News

In January, Labour Councillors complained about the punitive cuts to funding
for schools in Cheshire East. Regrettably, despite a public outcry and
warnings from local headteachers about the impact these cuts will have on
local schools, the Conservatives have not yet backed down.
For many years schools in Cheshire East have been some of the best in the
country. Now that success is threatened by cuts of over a million pounds
across the borough. Only a handful of primary schools have not had their
finances cut. Poynton loses the most at £-165k, followed by Fallibroome
£-156, both in Tory held council seats.

The Conservatives claim that national funding for schools has increased, but
in fact pupil numbers have increased by more than the funding. So the
national funding per pupil has fallen. The badly misnamed new Fair Funding
Formula, does not properly take into account the level of funding that
schools are already getting. So schools in Cheshire East, which are
relatively poorly funded, but still produce good results will lose money and
will become the worst funded in the country. This seems to be a punishment
for success.

Local MP Edward Timpson is the Minister for Children, but has failed to make
any clear statement on the impact the government policy will have on schools
in Crewe. In January, St Thomas More Catholic High School in Crewe was
reported in the Times as the top school in Cheshire East for Pupil Progress.
In March the headteacher of St Thomas More was interviewed on BBC Radio Four
setting out the problems that the cuts would cause!

Following years of Tory mismanagement, the educational system is now
struggling at all levels. The Early Years funding is inadequate, so
providers are in financial difficulties. The Special Education Needs system
is so complex that funding is delayed and children with special needs are
not getting the support they deserve.

Labour Councillors are encouraging parents, school governors and teachers to
respond to the consultation on the new funding formula at
https://consult.education.gov.uk/funding-policy-unit/schools-national-fundin
g-formula2/consultation/intro/
 There have been complaints about the
impenetrability of the questions in the consultation. It is important for
respondents to state their views on the impact the proposals will have on
their school.
There is a useful resource at
http://www.fairfundingforallschools.org/act-now.html

A march against the cuts has been organised by local residents starting at
11am on Saturday 18 March at Sandbach boys school and going to the Cobbles
in Sandbach town centre.

Brian Roberts, Labour Councillor for Crewe West said, “Before the latest
cuts Cheshire East was 145th, in a league of 150 areas nationally. Due to
the decisions of this Tory Government, Cheshire East is now being relegated
to the Rock Bottom of 150th.  All our children deserve better.
The silence from the Tory voices of Cheshire East is stunning.”

Brian’s fellow councillor for Crewe West, Jill Rhodes, added, “The effect of
these cuts on primary schools is particularly pronounced as their only real
option is to remove classroom support.  Each class has to have a teacher, so
the funding cuts will mean less help for those pupils who need extra
support. That will have knock on effects when those pupils get to secondary
school.”

Sam Corcoran, Labour Councillor for Sandbach Heath & East said, " In his
Budget speech the Chancellor said, ‘Choice is the key to excellence in
education’. I disagree! I think that good teachers and decent funding is the
key to excellence in education. The Chancellor announced an extension to
free transport for those at selective schools. This will jar with many
parents in Cheshire East who have just had their free school transport
withdrawn and are facing major funding cuts to their local school. The
Conservatives seem determined to pursue their ideological objective of
promoting grammar schools at the expense of all other schools."


Irene Faseyi, Labour Councillor for Crewe Central, said, “It's a disgrace
that the Tory government have enough money for new grammar schools at the
expense of struggling schools. One would have thought that the government
would plough some funding into existing schools rather than building " white
elephant " ones to further widen the divide between the haves and have nots
of this country.”


Steve Hogben, Labour Councillor for Crewe South, said, “Yes, the Prime
Minister boasted a few days ago that £320 million was to be made available
for new free or grammar schools.  Since the Chancellor's budget it has
emerged that the true extra funding for free or grammar schools is over
three times that amount at nearly £1 billion.  Even - or perhaps especially
- before the budget the government could not bring itself to admit just how
much money it was really siphoning off from state education. Such unashamed
deceit!  And this is all at the expense of existing schools.
“I wonder how the government plans to punish us plebeians next?

Education funding cuts in Cheshire East

In January, Labour Councillors complained about the punitive cuts to fundingfor schools in Cheshire East. Regrettably, despite a public outcry andwarnings from local headteachers about the impact these cuts will...

Cheshire East has been a black spot for Delayed Transfers of Care (DTOC).
Despite recent improvements, DTOC remains a significant issue that results
in unnecessary spend of millions of pounds a year. Nationally it is
estimated that one third of hospital beds are occupied by those over 65 and
that 10% of all beds are taken up by patients who should not be there.

At the Cheshire East Council meeting on 23rd February, Labour councillors
proposed a solution to the problem of Delayed Transfers of Care (bed
blocking).

The problem of DTOC is exacerbated by the structure of the NHS. Patients who
should be at home occupy a hospital bed; it is the hospitals and patients
who experience the problem. The funding for solving the problem is with
Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs). The people with the expertise to help
the patients get back home safely with a proper package of care are employed
by councils. So under the crazy NHS structures the problem, the funding and
the solution are all kept separate. It is now clear that the massive top
down reorganization of the NHS instigated by David Cameron wasted £4bn and
made problems such as DTOC worse.

The solution is obvious. Cheshire East Council should use its expertise to
move patients out of hospital and back into their homes, but the current NHS
structures do not reward such behaviour.

Sam Corcoran proposed “That a review should be carried out into ways to
reduce Delayed Transfers of Care from hospitals (DTOC) which should include
the option of setting up a wholly owned company to provide services on a
commercial basis.”

Cllr Laura Jeuda said, “The Conservatives voted against even carrying out a
review of the proposals. The Conservatives voted instead to stick with the
policies that have failed to solve the problem of DTOC in the past.”

Labour proposes solution for bed blocking

Cheshire East has been a black spot for Delayed Transfers of Care (DTOC).Despite recent improvements, DTOC remains a significant issue that resultsin unnecessary spend of millions of pounds a year....

At the Cheshire East Council Environment Committee Meeting on 26 January
2017 the proposed cuts to bus services were discussed. A verbal presentation
was given on the passenger consultation on the proposed 40% (£1.6m)
reduction in the budget for supporting bus services in the borough. No
written report was presented.

A major flaw in the methodology is that only existing users of
council-supported bus services will be consulted.  Labour councillors asked
why non-users were not being consulted and asked why they don't use the bus,
and what would encourage them to do so, but no meaningful answer was given

Improved bus services could help combat the rising levels of air pollution
in our major towns and provide an attractive alternative to the private car
for those working and using the hoped-for growth in the night-time economies
of Crewe and Macclesfield.

Nick Mannion, Labour Councillor for Macclesfield West & Ivy, said “This is
the start of a process that could well see the end of the remaining evening
and Sunday bus services in Crewe and Macclesfield. The Tories will see the
£1.6million cut as a soft target as it will hurt few of their car-owning
supporters.”

Chehsire East proposes Bus Service Cuts

At the Cheshire East Council Environment Committee Meeting on 26 January2017 the proposed cuts to bus services were discussed. A verbal presentationwas given on the passenger consultation on the proposed...

At the Cheshire East Health & Wellbeing Board Meeting on 31 January 2017 it
was revealed that Eastern Cheshire has the lowest level of investment in
mental health amongst comparable areas and is in the bottom 10% nationally.
The Conservatives on Cheshire East Council are proposing further budget cuts
of £4.2m a year in services currently provided by the Council’s in house
provider Care4CE. The draft budget proposals are to move from in-house
delivery to commission all care services from the broader care sector. In
short, the Conservatives are privatising the Council-run mental health
provision and at the same time cutting £4.2m a year from the budget. And
this is being done at a time when mental health is already underfunded
locally.

Dorothy Flude, Labour Councillor for Crewe South, said, “Having recently met
with representatives of Crewe and Nantwich Open Minds I am very aware of the
crisis in funding for mental health services. Cheshire East GP
commissioners’ recent review showed that the average spend for adults was
£98 per patient; the average spend in an area similar is £139. The cuts
proposed by Cheshire East Council will increase the stress for carers who
are experiencing great difficulties; these are the people who are saving
this country millions and deserve better.”

Mental Health Underfunded in Cheshire East

At the Cheshire East Health & Wellbeing Board Meeting on 31 January 2017 itwas revealed that Eastern Cheshire has the lowest level of investment inmental health amongst comparable areas and...

At the Cheshire East Health & Wellbeing Board Meeting on 31 January 2017
£3.2m of funding that had been set aside for adult social care in Cheshire
East is being paid by Cheshire East Council to the 2 local CCGs (Clinical
Commissioning Groups) because proposals for how to spend the money could not
be agreed.
There is a widespread problem in the NHS of patients remaining in hospital
after they could be discharged because there is no safe place to send them.
This is known as a Delayed Transfer of Care (DTOC). Between 5% and 10% of
all beds in NHS hospitals in Cheshire East are taken up by patients who do
not need to be there. Often this is due to a shortage of adult social care.
Bizarrely the Conservatives on Cheshire East Council have closed the high
quality Council run care homes at Hollins View, Lincoln House and Mountview,
thus reducing the number of care beds available. Now it transpires that
money that could have been used for providing care home places in Cheshire
East has not been used. At a time of a growing shortage, the Conservatives
on Cheshire East Council have been cutting the number of care beds, thus
making the problem worse. The cost is felt by the patients who cannot be
discharged from hospital and the taxpayers who have to pay £400 a night for
a hospital bed, when they could be paying less than £100 a night for a bed
in a care home.
At the Health & Wellbeing Board Meeting the chief executive of the Eastern
Cheshire CCG said that Delayed Transfer of Care was a very, very significant
challenge. Although good work has been done by staff in trying to reduce the
number of patients experiencing DTOC, the average length of delayed
transfers is rising.
The Eastern Cheshire CCG draft deficit for 2017/18 is £17.8m and this is
after program savings of £11.5m! NHS England are pressing for savings of
£20m, but this is simply unachievable.
The chief executive of the South Cheshire CCG painted a similarly grim
picture and complained of the complex and difficult system in the NHS. He
referred to rationing healthcare as the current funding is not adequate to
provide previous levels of service.
Dorothy Flude, Labour Councillor for Crewe South, said, “David Cameron’s
massive top down re-organisation of the NHS that wasted £4bn, has left us
with complex and difficult structures that seem designed to facilitate
privatisation of the NHS, rather than solving the health and care problems
of the residents of Cheshire East.”
Cllr Sam Corcoran said “The dire financial situation of the NHS means that
money that could be used to help solve the underlying problem of a shortage
of care beds is instead being used to plug the funding gaps in the NHS.”
Laura Jeuda, Labour Councillor for Macclesfield South, said, “The recent
threat to the Accident and Emergency department at Macclesfield Hospital due
to lack of funding has for the present been lifted. But no new money has
been made available, so rationing of NHS services is still on the cards. The
absolute jaw-dropping hypocrisy of Conservative MPs in the area, Bruce,
Rutley and Osborne is breathtaking:  it is their Conservative Government
which has forced our NHS into this disastrous situation.  They all supported
the totally unnecessary top-down reorganisation of the NHS at a time when
public satisfaction with the health service had never been higher. This
government and the previous Coalition have done their utmost to ruin our
health service- did Bruce, Rutley and Osborne honestly believe that the cuts
would not land on their own doorstep and would only affect other parts of
the country?”

NHS Crisis Made Worse by Cheshire East Tories

At the Cheshire East Health & Wellbeing Board Meeting on 31 January 2017£3.2m of funding that had been set aside for adult social care in CheshireEast is being paid by...


Cheshire East Labour councillors met on Saturday to look at their response
to the Conservative government cuts to education across the Borough. The
loss of a million pounds is punitive and hits schools which have for many
years been some of the best in the country. Only a handful of primary
schools have not had their finances cut.
Poynton loses the most at £-165k, followed by Fallibroome £-156, both in
Tory held council seats.


Sam Corcoran, Labour Councillor for Sandbach Heath & East said, "There is
little that is fair about yet another cut masked as a restructuring of
funding. Cheshire East schools were already some of the least well funded in
Britain.
Like the NHS, education services are targeted by the Conservative cuts
agenda."

Irene Faseyi, Labour Councillor for Crewe Central, said, "Labour councillors
stand in unity with the raft of angry headteachers who are trying to deliver
top quality education to our children. Education like A&E facilities should
be top priorities. Once again a real lack of leadership and imaginative
thinking from our Conservative Council is punishing the hardworking Cheshire
East tax payer."

Cuts to Education in Cheshire East

Cheshire East Labour councillors met on Saturday to look at their responseto the Conservative government cuts to education across the Borough. Theloss of a million pounds is punitive and hits...

On 18 January, a Special Meeting of Cheshire East Council’s Health and Adult
Social Care Committee was held to discuss Delayed Discharges from Hospitals.
The meeting was held against the backdrop of the dire financial situation of
the local NHS hospitals and the local Clinical Commissioning Groups which
are ‘under direction’ from central government to balance their books.

There have been widespread reports of patients having to stay in hospital
longer than necessary because there is nowhere else for them to go. Cheshire
East Council has a responsibility for social care outside of hospitals. When
quizzed at the meeting on how Delayed Transfer of Care (DTOCs) had been
impacted by the lack of social care, Tory-controlled Cheshire East Council
denied that there was any problem! It was even stated that Macclesfield
Hospital had one of the lowest rates of DTOC in the country. This appears to
directly contradict the NHS figures which show 5% of all beds occupied by
patients who are medically fit for discharge.

When the closure of the council-run facilities at Hollins View and Lincoln
House were announced, the Tory Council Leader promised that high quality
respite care would be provided. The reality has proved very different, with
one local care home being closed following poor Care Quality Commission
reports. There appears to be a serious shortage of care home places that is
impacting on the ability of hospitals to discharge patients, but the Tories
simply deny that there is a problem whatever the facts suggest.

Unusually for a committee meeting there were no written reports available.

At the meeting Laura Jeuda, Labour Councillor for Macclesfield South, also
asked about the STAIRRS project, that had been designed to help people going
home from hospital.

After the meeting Laura Jeuda said “I had heard that STAIRRS had been
dropped without notice, although not before it had managed to spend £1m.  I
asked whether STAIRRS had been dropped and I was promised a written reply to
my question, but to date I have heard nothing.”

Sam Corcoran, Labour Councillor for Sandbach Heath & East said, "I have been
hearing a number of distressing reports about the care, or lack of care,
being provided at some care homes, of how people are packed up with
incontinent pads at 6.00pm because there are not enough staff to take them
to the bathroom in the evening and during the night. I am grateful for the
work of Hollins View Watch, a group of people who had campaigned to keep the
high-quality council-run respite facilities open and who are now monitoring
the quality of care being provided in the private sector. I have heard
reports of a ‘special respite ward’ in one care home which had been opened
to cater solely for people needing respite care.  This closed after a matter
of weeks because the care home were unable to find staff. But still the
Tories simply deny that there is a problem and claim it is just a handful of
cases.”

Tories in Denial Over NHS Crisis

On 18 January, a Special Meeting of Cheshire East Council’s Health and AdultSocial Care Committee was held to discuss Delayed Discharges from Hospitals.The meeting was held against the backdrop of...

The government is imposing their so-called austerity cuts on local councils
across the country and Cheshire East is no exception. In fact, the main 
government revenue support grant to Cheshire East Council will be phased out
completely over the next 4 years. This will obviously create financial
challenges for the Council. Over the last few years, the Cheshire East
Labour Group have been warning of the challenges ahead and pressing the
Conservatives to plan ahead for more than one year; so the publishing of a
3-year budget consultation document is welcome. The level of detail provided
is also greater than in previous years; something else that the Labour Group
have called for. Over the coming weeks the Labour group will be scrutinising
the budget information to support communities and preserve the services that
sustain the most vulnerable.

The 3 year projections assume that Council Tax will rise by close to 4% a
year for the next 3 years.

Sam Corcoran, Labour & Co-operative Councillor for Sandbach Heath & East,
said, "I am pleased that the financial plans are now being put in the open.
This enables a reasoned debate over what services people are prepared to pay
for and which services they are prepared to lose. For example, the Arclid
Household Waste Site near Sandbach is set for closure. This is a valued
local facility with high recycling rates; I will be working with the local
community to see if a way can be found to keep this site open."

Brian Roberts, Labour Councillor for Crewe West, said, "It is only a few
months since the Conservatives forced through increases in councillor
allowances, which Labour opposed. Despite the independent reviewer raising
concerns about the number of councillors who receive extra allowances (55%
of councillors receive an additional allowance and the greatest number are
Conservative) the Conservatives refused to remove the extra allowances paid
to Cabinet Support Members. Now that we can see the extent of the financial
challenges facing the Council, the Conservatives' decision to award
themselves a pay rise looks badly mistimed."

Irene Faseyi, Labour Councillor for Crewe Central, said, "Given the
financial pressures being forced on councils by the Conservative government,
it is likely that most councils will be increasing council tax by the
maximum of 3.99%. This is yet another example of contradictory Conservative
government policy as from 2011 to 2014 councils were virtually forced to
freeze council tax and now they are being virtually forced to increase
council tax by 3.99%."

Cheshire East budget plans

The government is imposing their so-called austerity cuts on local councilsacross the country and Cheshire East is no exception. In fact, the main government revenue support grant to Cheshire East Council...


Carers from Macclesfield were understandably angry when a review of respite
care that was due to be discussed at a Health and Adult Social Care Overview
and Scrutiny Committee was abruptly cancelled by Cheshire East Council. The
review had been promised to carers at a scrutiny committee on 29 April. The
review is now due to be discussed at a meeting in November.

When Cheshire East Council closed Hollins View and Lincoln House, the
Conservative leader of the Council, Michael Jones, promised that quality
respite care beds would be available throughout Cheshire East. The truth has
been very different, with residents being allocated places at Weston Park
Nursing Home in Macclesfield which has only once managed to meet the
requirements of the CQC in the past five years. The latest CQC inspection in
August said that it 'required improvement'. Weston Park failed in every area
of inspection and has since changed ownership.

Not only are residents now having to put up with lower quality respite care,
but the shortage of beds is also causing concern. Both Hollins View and
Lincoln House had been used for Intermediate Care, helping to keep patients
who are not well enough to go home but not poorly enough to be in hospital,
out of acute hospital beds. There is a shortage of care beds in eastern
Cheshire, resulting in delayed discharge of patients from hospitals;
patients who are ready to leave hospital but have nowhere to go, so stay in
hospital beds longer than is necessary.

Councillor Laura Jeuda, Labour Spokesperson on Health and Adult Social Care
said, "Despite pleas from carers and members of the Labour Group, Cheshire
East Council chose to go ahead with closing a tried and trusted resource
which had a high level of customer satisfaction. The problems caused by the
closure of Hollins View and Lincoln House were predicted at the time, but
the Conservatives pressed ahead with their ideological plans to close
council-run services and promote private health care."

Dorothy Flude, Labour Councillor for Crewe South, said, "There is a crisis
in the private care sector, reported nationally. Because of the low payments
for contract beds paid by local authorities to care home owners, the homes
are not viable. The number of care homes closing is increasing with dreadful
consequences for older people and their families. Locally, the short-sighted
closure by Cheshire East Council of Lincoln House and Hollins View, respite
homes that provided excellent care, has not helped."

Shortage of Care Beds

Carers from Macclesfield were understandably angry when a review of respitecare that was due to be discussed at a Health and Adult Social Care Overviewand Scrutiny Committee was abruptly cancelled...

Crewe is a proud railway town, with generations of expertise and experience. The HS2 hub station at Crewe is set to transform the town. But new documents reveal that the Infrastructure Maintenance Depot that was to have been built at Crewe, providing valuable jobs, may now be sited at Stone. The change of location for the depot is because Cheshire East Council have given planning permission for 370 new houses on the proposed depot site.

The changes proposed will have a major impact on what the final outcome of HS2 at Crewe will look like, but the latest consultation process has no venue in Crewe.

In 2014, Steve Hogben, Labour Councillor for Crewe South, welcomed the announcement of HS2 saying, “We must also ensure that the All Change for Crewe initiative and other local plans take full account of the challenges and opportunities offered by the HS2 project. The future location of the rail freight yard at Basford Hall will also need to be considered and resolved. We need joined up thinking so that Crewe benefits fully from this announcement.” It now looks as though the Conservatives on Cheshire East Council have made the big announcement on HS2, but not done the planning work required to ensure that Crewe benefits fully.

Cllr Sam Corcoran, Labour Councillor for Sandbach Heath & East, said, “Cheshire East Council seems obsessed with building houses on greenfield sites in the south of the borough, in order to protect greenfield sites in the north of the borough. The latest Local Plan proposals suggest 8050 new houses around Crewe (incl Shavington, Basford and Leighton), 2951 new houses around Sandbach, 2181 around Nantwich, but only 950 around Wilmslow and 689 around Poynton. Now it seems that the rush to give planning permission for houses around Crewe has led to the loss of a rail employment opportunity. The staff in the Cheshire East Council ‘planning’ department are clearly struggling with the flood of speculative housing applications that government policies have let loose.

“There is widespread agreement that as a nation we need to build more homes. Labour proposes building more council houses and would let local government planning determine where the houses should be built (such as brownfield sites in Stoke). The Conservatives have let loose private developers, allowing them to build on sites where they can make the greatest profit (greenfield sites in south Cheshire).

Labour would have plan-led development. The Conservatives rely on the free market and are allowing developer-led planning.” 

Crewe Set to Lose HS2 Depot After Planning Blunder by Cheshire East Council

Crewe is a proud railway town, with generations of expertise and experience. The HS2 hub station at Crewe is set to transform the town. But new documents reveal that the...

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