Big boost for social care spending

Posted on: 16 February 2017

Devon County Council today (16 February 2017) backed a big boost on spending for social care and health despite continuing Government cuts.

An extra £18.7 million will be spent on adult care and health in 2017/18.

That’s a rise of almost 10 per cent and will take the total social care and health budget to £216.5 million.

There will be a two per cent increase in spending for children’s services amounting to £2.3 million following a 17.5 per cent rise this year.

Devon’s deputy leader and finance chief, John Clatworthy, said: “Caring for the elderly, disabled people and children are our highest priorities.

“We are championing looking after the elderly, the vulnerable and the young.”

Devon has a high proportion of people over 65 and people over 85.

In 2015 the percentage of people in Devon aged over 65 was 24.6 per cent compared to 17.8 per cent nationally. The percentage of people over 85 was 3.79 compared to 2.56 nationally.

Devon currently has the same proportion of over 85’s that the rest of the country will have in 2030.

Council leader John Hart said: “There is still considerable uncertainty about  whether the Government 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 budget will help to do that.

Part of the extra spending will be funded by a dedicated three per cent rise in council tax for adult social care which will cost the average Band D council taxpayer £36.23 a year. That will bring in £10.2 million.

In Devon’s most recent public consultations on the budget, 86 per cent of respondents said appropriate community support and care for older people was a top priority.

And 82 per cent said supporting vulnerable individuals and families to prevent neglect and harm was an essential or high priority.

Almost three-quarters (74 per cent) said they would pay more council tax if it helped Devon County Council to protect services.

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