Councils warn vital community services at risk if short-term grants bridging £5.2bn funding gap are lost
The County Councils Network (CCN), a group representing 36 county local authorities, has stressed the need for short-term grants to local authorities to continue, warning that crucial care services for elderly and disabled people hang in the balance.
The call follows the recent ‘Local government funding and the 2019 Spending Review’ report which revealed a funding gap for councils of £5.2bn next year, with the CCN emphasising the need for Government to provide short-term resources to help local authorities continue to provide services.
The report notes that the largest spending area for local authorities is adult social care, with spending on services dedicated to adult social care accounting for 32 percent of councils’ total spend in 2015/16.
According to the CCN, this is expected to grow to 43 percent (£2.9bn) over a 10-year period, fuelled by the UK’s growing, ageing population.
To help council’s bridge the funding gap that exists and continue to provide vital services, which include community equipment services and wheelchair services, the Government has provided additional grants to local authorities.
The adult social care grant, Improved Better Care Fund and the winter pressures grant are amongst a number of short-term boosts totalling almost £2.4bn nationally used to help maintain services for those with a disability and the elderly.
With the Government’s spending review set to be released by Chancellor Sajid Javid next week, the CCN has warned that this essential funding has yet to be confirmed, leading to some local authorities to worry it will have to cut services.
The CCN noted that county councils are particularly at risk from any decline in funding.
Discussing the report’s findings, Cllr Paul Carter, Chairman of the CCN, commented: “The committee heard from various witnesses, including from the government, that county authorities face the most financial pressure due to historic underfunding and acute demand-led pressures. As our analysis shows, local authorities face a £5.2bn funding gap next year, with county areas accounting for £2.1bn of this figure.
“County leaders are clear that filling this gap will result in further cuts to highly-valued and frontline services, unless extra resource is provided by the government. It is paramount that the new government provides short-term resource, targeted at those areas most in need, in next month’s one-year Spending Review, ahead of a more long-term settlement and reforms to adult social care in early 2020.”
It is feared by some local councils that any cuts to adult social services will be felt by the NHS, with increasing numbers of older people turning to the National Health Service if unable to remain independent in the community, alongside delays in patient discharge and strains on emergency services.https://thiis.co.uk/councils-warn-vital-community-services-at-risk-if-short-term-grants-to-bridge-5-2bn-funding-gap-are-lost/https://i1.wp.com/thiis.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/social-care-in-the-frame.jpg?fit=1000%2C667&ssl=1https://i1.wp.com/thiis.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/social-care-in-the-frame.jpg?resize=150%2C150&ssl=1Government & Local AuthoritiesInvestments & FundingNewsroomReports & Researchadult social care,care in the community,CCN,CES,Chancellor Sajid Javid,Cllr Paul Carter,Community Equipment Services,community services,county councils,County Councils Network,county local authorities,emergency services,funding,grants,Improved Better Care Fund,NHS,social care grant,Wheelchair Services,winter pressures grantThe County Councils Network (CCN), a group representing 36 county local authorities, has stressed the need for short-term grants to local authorities to continue, warning that crucial care services for elderly and disabled people hang in the balance. The call follows the recent ‘Local government funding and the 2019 Spending...Calvin BarnettCalvin Barnettcalvin@thiis.co.ukAdministratorTHIIS Magazine