counts the cost of Burnham
and Highbridge's aging
and Highbridge will have one of the oldest populations in the
whole of Somerset by the year 2033 according to new figures from
Somerset County Council this week.
authority says the aging population across Somerset will add around
£5m to its costs next year as it works on ways to balance
countys population is growing by around 3,400 people a year
and getting older, it says.
and Highbridge will have over 50% of its population aged over
65 by the year 2033, says the council. Other areas in Somerset
with similar populations are Watchet, Minehead and Frome.
put the cost of this demographic pressure at around
£5m with inflation adding a further £3.5m to 2016/17
costs across the county.
the same time the authority says it is facing "major reductions"
in its direct funding from Government.
County Council said on Monday (November 2nd) that it needs to
bridge a budget gap of around £27m for 2016/17. Between
2014/15 and 2019/20 its direct funding from Government is expected
to have fallen by around £63m.
Harvey Siggs, Cabinet Member for Resources, told Burnham-On-Sea.com:
"People living longer in Somerset is great news and should
be celebrated. But for a local authority this demographic pressure
makes the difficult job of balancing our budget even harder."
cannot ignore the fact that having more older residents, often
coping with a number of complex health issues, poses a significant
challenge as demand for services, particularly social care support,
increase year after year. Its a nationwide issue but one
that is particularly pronounced in Somerset."
show that by 2030 there will be an extra 56,000 people aged 65
and over living in Somerset 30 per cent of the population
compared to 23 per cent today. In less than 20 years there will
be some communities where people aged 65 and over make up more
than 50 per cent of the population.
Council has a number of long-term initiatives to manage demand
for services and make its funding go further.
have to look at balancing our budget not just for next year, but
for years to come," said Cllr Siggs. "Reductions in
funding combined with our population profile mean some fundamental
changes are needed. The most vulnerable will always be prioritised,
but part of the change has to be greater emphasis on us helping
people help themselves wherever possible."
would also ask people to support us in our push for fairer funding
for Somerset from the Government," he said. "The current
formula for allocating funds does not do enough to recognise the
challenges and costs of providing services in a sparsely populated
rural setting where the population is becoming increasingly elderly."
can visit http://fairerfundingforsomerset.org/
for more information and to fin dout about the 'Fairer Funding
for Somerset' petition.