Latest Public Sector News

21.02.17

Spring Budget last hope for social care after ‘hugely disappointing’ council settlement

Local authorities have reacted angrily as communities secretary Sajid Javid confirmed that the local government settlement would see £240m being transferred from the New Homes Bonus put back into adult social care funding – but made no new money available for social care.

In the settlement, Javid said the move of money would be done alongside the ability to raise a 3% social care precept through the council tax, which he argued would raise an additional £900m for social care over the next two years.

The secretary of state also promised to bring forward reform to provide a sustainable market that works for those who need social care, going on to welcome a consensus in Parliament to move towards the integration of health and social services.

But local government leaders were dissatisfied that the final settlement, confirmed last night, had not listened to their earlier concerns that councils would be left scrabbling for unexpected savings during 2017-18, putting them at risk of a financial tipping point.

LGA chairman Lord Porter argued he was “hugely disappointed” at the settlement’s revelation that there would be no new funding for councils coming in the next year.

“Cuts to New Homes Bonus funding will leave two-thirds of councils having to find millions more in savings than expected to plug funding gaps next year,” he reiterated.

Extra council tax income will not bring in anywhere near enough money to prevent the need for continued cutbacks to local services, including social care.”

Lord Porter also warned that the extra money that would come from councils raising tax rates would be in vain, as it was “swallowed up” by the cost of paying the National Living Wage.

He highlighted the desperate need for councils to receive new money from central government, adding: “Councils, the NHS, charities and care providers remain united around the desperate need for new government funding for social care. By continuing to ignore these warnings, social care remains in crisis and councils and the NHS continue to be pushed to the financial brink.

“If our cherished local services are to survive the next few years and beyond, it is imperative that the government now uses the Spring Budget to take urgent steps to improve the immediate funding outlook for local government and secure its financial sustainability in the long-term.”

Cllr Paul Carter, chairman of the County Council Network, also stressed that the transferral of money from New Homes Bonuses was only a short-term solution and that “genuinely new and innovative funding is essential, but it will not fix the social care crisis”.

“In the short term, changes to New Homes Bonus provide some welcome additional support for county councils through a re-priorisation of funding in two-tier areas,” he said.

“However, this does not benefit all authorities and the precept only adds to the unfair council tax pressures felt by county residents due to the outdated methodology of funding local government.

“Many authorities for now will have no choice but to implement the rise and draw down further reserves. This is not a sustainable approach.”

The District Councils’ Network also responded by agreeing that the funding crisis for social care “is indeed significant”, emphasising that a “durable solution to it needs to be found”.

“However, the changes to New Homes Bonus do not constitute such a solution,” the organisation concluded.

Have you got a story to tell? Would you like to become a PSE columnist? If so, click here 

Comments

Christine M   23/02/2017 at 12:12

There is only one solution, well possibly two. This Government has to bite the bullet and either increase income tax or install a health levy. Their solution to raise council tax to cover social care is grossly unfair. It means someone in a household with more than two adults is getting away scot free. There are many households with multiple adults and they need to pay their share. Most of us will need to use the services of social care sometime in out lives and it is only right that we should all contribute. We all know that no Government of any colour likes to raise income tax - it is a vote loser. This Government must weigh up the pros and cons, the choice will not be easy, but they must understand that fairness must be a key factor in their decisions, and this excessive rise in council tax just isn't fair

Add your comment

 

related

public sector executive tv

more videos >

last word

The importance of openness after Grenfell

The importance of openness after Grenfell

Following the recent Grenfell Tower tragedy, Lord Porter, chairman of the LGA, argues that if the public are going to have faith in the safety testing process then everything must be out in the open more > more last word articles >

public sector focus

View all News

comment

Driving forward a healthier Scotland

10/11/2017Driving forward a healthier Scotland

Dundee City Council is leading the way in boosting electric vehicle (EV) up... more >
A smarter approach to digital transformation

10/11/2017A smarter approach to digital transformation

Catherine Bright, Smarter Digital Services (SDS) manager, explains how a pa... more >

interviews

‘The HSCN is the realisation of industry best practice’

30/06/2017‘The HSCN is the realisation of industry best practice’

Keith Smith, public sector business development manager at Virgin Media Bus... more >

the raven's daily blog

Visual.ONS: How to compete with the big data aggregators

13/11/2017Visual.ONS: How to compete with the big data aggregators

Advertisement feature Christopher Gallagher, territory manager at SAS, explains how big data can be used by the public sector to find innovative solutions to common probl... more >
read more blog posts from 'the raven' >

editor's comment

25/10/2017Take a moment to celebrate

Devolution, restructuring and widespread service reform: from a journalist’s perspective, it’s never been a more exciting time to report on the public sector. That’s why I could not be more thrilled to be taking over the reins at PSE at this key juncture. There could not be a feature that more perfectly encapsulates this feeling of imminent change than the article James Palmer, mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, has penned for us on p28. In it, he highlights... read more >