The Leader of Somerset County Council has welcomed this week’s Budget in which extra money for social care and a commitment to address its long-term funding was announced.
In his budget on Wednesday (March 8th), the Chancellor announced an extra of £2bn for local authorities over three years for social care, with £1bn available in the next financial year.
Philip Hammond also revealed that options for sustainably funding social care in the long-term will be set out in a Green Paper later this year.
Councillor John Osman has been highlighting the massive financial challenges faced by local authorities in meetings with Local Government ministers in recent weeks.
Before the Autumn statement, the County Council Leader wrote to the Chancellor setting out the pressures Somerset faces and urging him to find a way to provide for the “adequate, sustainable funding of social care.”
“Of course, we don’t yet know exactly what this will mean for Somerset but any additional money is hugely welcome,” said Councillor Osman.
“Just as important is the commitment to look at future funding for social care which is something we, and other local authorities, have been calling for for a long time. I’m glad our voice has finally been heard.”
In 2015/16 Somerset’s spend on supporting vulnerable adults, (including support for older people, people with physical disabilities, mental health services and support for people with learning disabilities) was £139.9m. That’s more than £383,000 per day and an £8m increase over three years as more people live longer with multiple health conditions and the cost of care placements and home care rise.
Cllr Osman said: “This is a massive area of spend for this authority that makes sure vulnerable and elderly people are given the support they need to stay healthy and independent for as long as possible.”
“We will follow the progress of the Green paper closely and do everything we can to ensure it suitably addresses one of the biggest issues facing local authorities across the country.”