by Susan van de Ven on 18 April, 2019
At a time of year when parish councils organise their Annual Parish Meetings, and councillors are invited to give an overview of Local Authority priorities and challenges, this article on runaway social care costs is well worth a read.
Not a glamorous topic but fundamentally important to everyone, if only for its knock-on effects across local authority public services. Adult Social Care expenditure is the biggest piece of the spending pie by far, dwarfing things like highway maintenance and public transport subsidies, that barely show on the pie chart.
Conservative Government policy of eliminating local authority Revenue Support Grant has had a devastating effect: where it once formed the lion’s share of councils’ revenue spend, this year it has reached nil. Council tax rises can’t make up the difference.
As one small example of non-statutory services falling by the wayside due to lack of funding, a couple of years ago Cambridgeshire County Council did away with post-16 education transport subsidies. This had a knock-on effect on rural bus services, and post-16 education centres in Cambridge reported a changing demographic in their intake – less affluent students without private transport were less likely select colleges they couldn’t afford to get to.
Lots of ironies – like lack of funding in the highway maintenance budget to keep pavements smooth, when ‘Falls Prevention’ is a top-of-the-list priority in adult social care, but is confined to a person’s immediate living space. Grab rails indoors but unwalkable pavements outdoors.
There’s no magic money tree, but Government does have choices to make about local authority funding policies, and forks in the road on national economic good health (cue the B word).2 Comments