Cost of social care blamed for new cuts - The Evesham Observer

Cost of social care blamed for new cuts

Evesham Editorial 16th Dec, 2018   0

CASH-STRAPPED council chiefs have revealed a further £23million in savings will need to found in the next financial year despite revealing a £6million increase in its budget for the year ahead.

The measures come as the county looks to invest £14million in adult social care and a further £7.7million in social care for children, two departments which together account for 70 per cent of the authority’s budget.

Bosses at the Conservative-controlled council are banking on proceeds from new homes and growing businesses to put an additional £6million into its coffers.

And council leader Coun Simon Geraghty said a long-awaited local Government funding announcement could even ensure the authority fills the £17.9million black hole in its finances it revealed in September.

Since the revelation, council chiefs slashed £12.7million from its costs in efficiency savings and a £5million gap has now been reduced to £2.2million which could disappear if the authority gets its expected grant from the Government.

A programme of voluntary redundancies announced by County Hall bosses earlier this year saw 120 people come forward with 40 people leaving their roles as a result.

In addition to the investments in adult social care and social chare for children, £3million has been set aside to support apprenticeships, skills development and business growth while £2.8million has been added to the pot to fund infrastructure projects in Worcestershire.

The council is also to invest £13.7million to build, extend and maintain Worcestershire’s schools.

Unveiling proposals to raise its share of the Council Tax by 3.99 per cent or 93 pence per week for a Band D property, Coun Geraghty once again repeated his calls for a national funding solution to fund adult social care.

“The Government needs to realise this is a national issue not just something in Worcestershire,” he said.

“People are living longer which is a fantastic tribute to the work of the NHS and local council budgets need to reflect that. In the meantime we have to fund these services.”

“These are challenging financial times for all councils who have responsibility for caring for the most vulnerable in our society,” he added.

However the £23million in cuts, described as ‘reform proposals’ by the Conservatives, were immediately condemned by Labour Group leader Coun Robin Lunn (Redditch North).

“The major problem continues to be caused by the inability of the Conservative government to fund adult social care properly or even publish its green paper on the subject which is over a year late,” he said.

“As a result county councils struggle on with more and more of their budgets being used to fund adult social care and less and less funding everything else. When is the government going to take this matter seriously?”

He added the government was reducing its own contribution to the county by £9.4million and called on the Council to maximise its income from services such as enforcing trading standards which would also benefit the public.

The proposals will be debated in the new year ahead of the budget being confirmed in February.


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