CCN response to the Local Government Finance Settlement

CCN News 2016 | 15 December 2016

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CCN responds to today’s DCLG announcement on the Local Government Finance Settlement.

Cllr Paul Carter, chairman of the County Councils Network, said:

“The Government has acknowledged the severe financial strain local authorities and care markets are under in delivering social care, but the extra flexibility for the precept announced today is neither the short nor the long-term answer to a sustainable social care system.

“CCN has called for genuinely new funding to be allocated to social care, and today’s announcement falls short of this. The settlement redirects a small proportion of New Homes Bonus, but this will provide limited support to ease the rising pressures faced by our member councils.

“County areas face the most acute social care pressures: they contain the largest and fastest growing elderly population, yet CCN member councils receive the lowest funding for elderly care, resulting in disproportionate council tax bills for residents. Given this, counties will be wary of asking our residents to contribute even more next year when they are already penalised by geography.

“Looking ahead, we agree with Government that we must work closely together to find a long-term solution to the challenges facing social care which require both sustainable funding and reform.

“As the Secretary of State rightly acknowledged, this long-term solution must include the needs-based funding review to address the inequities in funding already within the system. This review must now be brought forward while looking for a comprehensive solution to the long-term funding of social care, starting with the Budget in March.

“Counties have transformed services and have made extraordinary efficiency savings to safeguard frontline services at time of rising demand, which have been acknowledged by the Secretary of State, whilst he also cited Oxfordshire and Northumberland as examples of innovative best practice.

“All our members must be trusted to lead the drive towards integration. Their financial management and innovative service redesign, at a time when NHS budgets have been protected, must now spread to the wider health service; with partners working together to break down the barriers to integration, harnessing the size, scale, capacity and expertise offered by county authorities.

“In addressing both the funding and reform imperative, county authorities will play a full and active part, putting forward evidence-based solutions to Government on the challenges ahead.”