County Councils Network chairman, Cllr Paul Carter, said:
“Once again, this year’s local government finance settlement is extremely challenging, asking councils to deliver extraordinary efficiency savings.
“CCN remains committed to achieving both new, and most importantly, fairer funding for social care. The March Budget and the needs-based fairer funding review provides the opportunity to address this for all authorities. We will work constructively with Government to achieve change.
“In the short term, changes to New Homes Bonus provide some welcome additional support for county councils through a re-priorisation of funding in two-tier areas. However, this does not benefit all authorities and the precept only adds to the unfair council tax pressures felt by county residents due to the outdated methodology of funding local government. Many authorities for now will have no choice but to implement the rise and draw down further reserves. This is not a sustainable approach.
“Looking ahead, genuinely new and innovative funding is essential, but it alone will not fix the social care crisis.
“Counties are working locally to integrate health and social care and reduce delayed discharges, despite growing pressures and systematic barriers placed in their way. Closer working is required between councils, the NHS, and housing authorities to deliver a joined-up approach to tackling the immediate funding and demand pressures. Here, counties must be trusted to drive change.”