The government has announced that a support package worth £600 million is being allocated to councils across the country as they battle to continue delivering vital services.
Local authority struggles have been widely publicised recently, as demand for key services continues to rise. Social care is one of the biggest examples of these struggles, with children’s and adult's services being demanded more, yet coming at an increased delivery cost. With this in mind, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities has confirmed that £500 million of this funding will be added to the Social Care Grant.
Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, said:
“We have listened to councils across England about the pressures they’re facing and have always stood ready to help those in need.”
“This additional £600 million support package illustrates our commitment to local government. We are in their corner, and we support the incredible and often unsung work they do day-to-day to support people across the country.”
Core Spending Power for all councils will also be raised by at least 4% through the Funding Guarantee before any local decisions on tax, efficiencies, or services. The government is hoping that this funding will help councils become more financially stable, with investment adding to that which was announced in December's provisional Local Government Finance Settlement.
The official Local Government Finance Settlement for 2024/25 is set to be unveiled at the beginning of February, with this bringing further details on how the additional funding will be distributed.
Also commenting on the additional investment was Simon Hoare, Minister for Local Government, who added:
This injection of funding will help ensure services which people rely on can continue – and demonstrates how important we view local government. We have listened to various organisations and considered their views seriously and I’m grateful to those who reached out to me.
“The funding offers something for all of our hard-working councils, with additional funding for social care as well as help for rural authorities to deliver essential services.”
The Local Government Association has responded to the announcement, with Chair Cllr Shaun Davies saying:
“The LGA welcomes that the Government has acted on the concerns we have raised and recognised the severe financial pressures facing councils, particularly in providing services to the most vulnerable children and adults through social care services and delivering core front-line services to communities.
“We will continue to work with Government to achieve a sustainable long-term funding settlement and updated distribution mechanisms, as well as legislative reform where needed so that local government can play its full part in delivering inclusive prosperity and growth through investment to support people, places, and the planet.”
Speaking about how £500 million of the funding will go towards social care, Joint CEO of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) Cathie Williams, said:
“This additional funding for social care is much needed and will be welcomed by people using and working in care and support.
“But given the well-documented pressures on council finances and adult social care budgets, more still needs to be done to help people stay independent at home for longer, support unpaid carers and address workforce challenges, or we risk denying people the care and support they need to live well.
“We need to move from treating the symptoms to addressing the cause of the challenges we see in adult social care, like long waiting times and people missing out on care altogether. We look forward to working with Government to develop a long-term, fully funded plan for adult social care that focuses on enabling people to live as healthily as possible, for as long as possible”
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