Local Government News e-bulletin

Owl says: So much work so little money.

“More than four in five MPs want extra funding to be found for social care
A survey by the LGA has found that more than four in five MPs want extra funding to be found for adult social care. The poll of 150 MPs found that 84 per cent wanted extra funds for adult social care. The extra funding was backed by 79 per cent of Conservative MPs and 95 per cent of Labour MPs, while 76 per cent of peers called for extra funds. The LGA said extra funds were needed to rescue care services for older and disabled people from collapse. It warns there is a £3.5 billion funding gap facing adult social care by 2025, just to maintain existing standards of care. Cllr Izzi Seccombe, Chairman of the LGA’s Community Wellbeing Board, said: “Councils, care workers, health professionals and now even MPs and Peers agree that social care funding to councils must be increased. Work to find a long-term funding solution for adult social care and support has been kicked into the long grass by successive governments for the past two decades and has brought these services to breaking point. The Government cannot duck this issue any longer. It must make genuinely new resources available urgently to plug the short-term funding gap of £3.5 billion as well as set out its plans to secure the longer-term future.” Cllr Seccombe also called for a nationwide public debate about the future of care for all adults ahead of the Government’s green paper.
Sunday Telegraph p8

Deferred Payment Agreements
Around 4,800 homes have been entered into Deferred Payment Agreements (DPAs) to pay for their owners’ care fees, according to a Freedom of Information Act survey. It also found 14 councils have signed more than 100 DPAs in two years. An LGA spokesperson said: “We cannot duck this issue (of how to fund adult social care) any longer, which is why, following the Government’s postponement of its long-awaited green paper on adult social care, the LGA has published its own.”
Express p2

Children’s Commissioner calls for end to ‘battery-hen’ school holidays
The Children’s Commissioner for England, Anne Longfield, says urgent action is needed to stop children leading a “battery hen existence” during the school holidays that is damaging their mental health, contributing to violence and ensuring they return to school in worse health than when they left. She called for radical measures to restore the importance of play, such as overhauling play areas and parks.
Observer p1

School cash drive saves £100m
The Department for Education’s School Resource Management Strategy will reveal £106 million was saved in 2016/17 on equipment costs in schools. In one case, savings included £40,000 worth of unused equipment in a single school, which will be sold off.
Express p2

City mayors in joint call for urgent action to tackle air pollution
A total of 17 mayors and civic leaders have signed a letter calling on Theresa May to take immediate action to fight air pollution, which scientists estimate causes at least 40,000 premature deaths a year in the UK. They say the Government should pass a stringent clean air act that will give local authorities powers to regulate emissions such as those produced by taxis in cities.
Observer p11

Cuts in projects for migrants
A new study by the Institute for Public Policy Research says cuts to key programmes have undermined efforts to help migrants settle in communities. It found funding for integration efforts, aimed at local authorities with high levels of migration, had dropped by almost a third. There was also evidence that councils with the highest levels of migration had been disadvantaged the most, as their funding had not kept pace with population growth.
Observer p20

Bus companies betray our ailing high streets
Bus operators have been accused of making the high street crisis worse by reducing services into town and city centres across the UK. Councils and private contractors have blamed gridlocked roads and a reduction in passengers heading into high streets for running fewer buses on certain routes.
Express p10

Lib Dem leader prepares to quit
Sir Vince Cable is set to stand down as the Liberal Democrat leader before the next general election. He will announce he wants a change to party rules in an attempt to create a mass membership movement and allow a non-MP to take charge.
Sunday Times p1, Mail on Sunday p2, Sky News Online