Extra funding not enough to replace years of government cuts

Date published: 09 September 2019

Additional money promised to councils for adults’ and children’s social care services will not be enough to make-up for years of government cuts, the leader of Rochdale Borough Council has warned.

In a statement to the House of Commons last week the Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid MP promised an extra £1.5bn for councils, which the government said must be partly paid for through further council tax increases.

The Local Government Association (LGA) has already warned that council tax cannot provide a long-term solution to social care funding and that some areas of the country, like the borough of Rochdale, are unable to raise as much as others.

The additional money, to help fund vital care services for vulnerable people with high levels of dependency, was revealed as part of the latest spending review into how government departments are funded.

The full implications for Rochdale Borough Council are not yet known and may not be confirmed until December, when the draft settlement is received.

Over the last two years the council has led the way in campaigning for more cash to fund social care with Councillor Iftikhar Ahmed, cabinet member for adult care, regularly raising the issue with government ministers. 

But giving his reaction to the Chancellor’s statement, Councillor Allen Brett, the leader of the council and cabinet member for resources, said: “We welcome any additional funding but I agree with the LGA that this is short-term fix not a long-term solution. Forcing councils to keep putting council tax up as a way of covering what the government is not providing is not a fair way of solving this crisis.

“While we may be getting a couple of million extra, over £200million has been taken out of the council over the past nine years. What has become known as the ‘adult care council tax precept’ is a regressive tax that puts the burden on to local people, and disproportionately on less well-off local people. It’s the wrong way round and it needs to be put back the right way.”

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