Big boost for social care spending
Posted on: 14 December 2016
Devon County Council’s Cabinet today (Wednesday 14 December) backed a big boost on spending for adult social care and health despite continuing Government cuts.
Next year’s target budget calls for an extra £18.8 million to be spent on adult care and health in 2017/18.
That’s a rise of almost 10 per cent and would take the total social care and health budget to £216.5 million.
County Treasurer Mary Davis told the Cabinet that the Government still hadn’t confirmed what level of grant the authority would receive next year.
She said Devon had agreed an efficiency statement with the Government which offered a degree of certainty for funding for the next four years.
But she added:
“What isn’t known is whether the settlement figures provided by the Government are the actual sums we will receive or have been amended due to the financial impact of recent events such as Brexit.”
Mrs Davis said there was little for local government in the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement last month and no mention of the expected extra funding for adult social care or what level councils might be able to set additional council tax increases to help pay for it.
The target budget calls for increases in spending for children’s services of two per cent or £2.3 million following a 17.5 per cent rise this year and 5.7 per cent or £2 million for communities, public health, environment and prosperity.
The revenue budget for highways, infrastructure and waste would reduce by 3.5 per cent but the council is planning to move a number of areas of road repairs to its capital budget which will be considered in February. This will allow for longer-term planning of vital issues such as road resurfacing work.
In all, the target revenue budget for 2017/18 would be £459.5 million.
Council leader John Hart said:
“There is still considerable uncertainty about what support we shall receive from the Government and particularly whether they will provide extra funding for vital health and social care which is under immense pressure both in Devon and nationally.
“But we must step up to the plate. Devon has one of the highest proportions of people over 65 and people over 85 and they need and deserve our help and support.
“So despite the continuing austerity agenda from the Government, we have found extra money for these vital services.
“We have always said our priority is to protect the most vulnerable in our society and I believe this target budget will help to do that.
“That’s why we are also increasing the budget for children’s services again following on from big increases there previously.”
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