Provisional Local Government Finance Settlement
The Provisional Local Government Finance Settlement saw some movement to address the crisis in adult social with the announcement that social care authorities will be able to increase council tax by up to a 3 per cent in 2017/18 and again in 2018/19 – or alternatively 2 per cent for each of those years and again in 2019/20.
This is in addition to the up to 1.99 per cent increases that all councils will be allowed to make to fund local services without the need for a referendum.
There will also be around £240 million made available for adult social care from the New Homes Bonus allocation redistribution.
Lord Porter, Izzy Seccombe and I have all said that we needed new funding for adult social care, not redistribution of New Homes Bonus funding. I am clear that the settlement does not come close to addressing the funding crisis which adult social care is currently facing in either the short term or the long term.
The simple fact is that this is one issue that will not go away. Indeed, due to demographic pressures it will only grow. The Government needs to recognise that adult social care is just as vital as the NHS; we all want to live longer and to have a decent care system to support us in older age.
The LGA has consistently highlighted the fact that social care services face a projected funding gap of £2.6 billion deficit by 2020. Our concerns have been echoed by the NHS, Parliamentarians and the Care Quality Commission.
As Simon Stevens, the Chief Executive of the NHS, recently remarked the case for investing in social care is ‘unarguable' and it should be at the ‘front of the queue' for extra funding.
As attention now shifts to the Budget, the LGA's member councils can rest assured that we will continue to lobby on your behalf to ensure that the social care system is adequately funded.
Cllr David Hodge is Leader of the LGA Conservative Group.
20 December 2016