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Burstow tells councils: "You're not all crude cutters"

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Care services minister Paul Burstow has said he will not “tar every council with the same brush as crude cutters of social care.”

The Liberal Democrat minister (left) made the comments in a speech at a King’s Fund conference on Wednesday.

“It is easy to oversimplify or caricature the debate about what councils are doing,” he said. “I won’t tar every council with the same brush as crude cutters of social care. Some are being smart. Others are resorting to short-sighted cuts.”

He said “smart” councils were “looking at integration, shared back office functions and co-production,” citing Greenwich LBC, Wiltshire CC and Birmingham City Council as examples of good practice.

Mr Burstow said he wanted to “acknowledge the difficulties” that councils faced in funding social care, and to “applaud” those that had made effective reforms.

Responding to concerns that the sector and the Department of Health had not “made the case” that social care should receive major new funding ahead of the spending review, Mr Burstow said social care “hasn’t been picked out” as undeserving of new funding, adding that no government department could go over its budget from the 2010 spending review.

“Given that we still don’t know the state of the European economy and whether the Euro will have imploded, we are going to have to use the spending review to address the funding issue and making sure there is reform of the system,” he said.

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