Lord Porter, Chairman, Local Government Association:
“… It is hugely disappointing that the Budget offered nothing to ease the financial crisis facing local services. Funding gaps and rising demand for our adult social care and children’s services are threatening the vital services which care for our elderly and disabled, protect children and support families. This is also having a huge knock-on effect on other services our communities rely on. Almost 60p in every £1 that people pay in council tax could have to be spent caring for children and adults by 2020, leaving increasingly less to fund other services, like fixing potholes, cleaning streets and running leisure centres and libraries.
“Adult social care services are essential to keeping people out of hospital and living independent, dignified lives at home and in the community and alleviating the pressure on the NHS. Simply investing more money into the NHS while not addressing the funding crisis in adult social care is not going to help our joint efforts to prevent people having to go into hospital in the first place.
“The money local government has to run services is running out fast and councils face an overall £5.8 billion funding gap in just two years. The Government needs to use the upcoming Local Government Finance Settlement to set out its plan for how it will fund local services both now and in the future. We remain clear that local government as a whole must be able to keep every penny of business rates collected to plug funding gaps while a fairer system of distributing funding between councils is needed.
“Only with fairer funding and greater freedom from central government to take decisions over vital services in their area can local government generate economic growth, build homes, strengthen communities, and protect vulnerable people in all parts of the country. … ”
Cllr Izzi Seccombe, Chairman of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board:
“It is a completely false economy to put money into the NHS while not addressing the funding crisis in adult social care. This sends a message that if you need social care, you should go to hospital.
“If government wants to reduce the pressures on the health service and keep people out of hospital in the first place, then it needs to tackle the chronic underfunding of care and support services in the community, which are at a tipping point.
“In addition, central government’s cuts to councils’ public health budgets, which fund vital prevention work that improves the health of children, young people and adults, reducing the need for treatment later down the line and also easing the pressure on the NHS, need to be reversed.
“Adult social care needs to be placed on an equal footing to the NHS. It is clear that the public understands this, as adult social care was a central talking point in the recent general election. It is therefore deeply disappointing that government has today chosen not to capitalise on this momentum.
“While the announcement of a green paper next summer shows government recognises the need for long-term reform, this does nothing to address the immediate pressures older and disabled people are facing. Those who desperately rely on care and support on a daily basis cannot be left to make do while waiting for yet another review. They want action now.
“The £2 billion over three years announced in the Spring Budget was a step in the right direction, and councils have been effectively using this money, for example to reduce delayed transfers of care. However this was one-off funding and is not a long-term solution.
“Adult social care still faces an annual funding gap of £2.3 billion by the end of the decade. As a minimum government needs to plug this gap urgently to ensure services can keep on running and stop providers going bust, while we have the bigger conversation around how we secure a long-term sustainable future for social care.”
Grant Thornton (auditors)
““Continued investment into the NHS is necessary but the announcement today didn’t even cover the current deficit forecast until 2020.
Social care continues to be the main driver on demand in council spending and yet received no mention; a very obvious omission.
In 2011/12, social care accounted for around 28.9% of total service expenditure and rose to 30.16% in 2015/16, indicative of the growing demand that is not being met.
In particular, children’s services have faced challenging savings targets and very difficult decisions over a number of years and in 2015/16 73% of all councils overspent against their children’s social care services budget as they struggled to produce more with less.
By avoiding addressing this issue directly and continuing to invest elsewhere in the health and social care system the Chancellor is missing a valuable opportunity by choosing to invest in only the roof while the house around it is crumbling. …”