The County Councils Network has been at the forefront of calls for additional resource for councils this summer, particularly on special educational needs and adult social care funding. Last week, the network’s research revealed that £2.4bn worth of care grant funding was at risk – and the government has today confirmed it will continue with these grants.
Below, the network responds to today’s announcements.
Cllr David Williams, chairman-elect of the County Councils Network, and leader of Hertfordshire County Council:
“Today’s announcement by the Chancellor of new funding for councils is hugely significant and very welcome. Throughout the summer the County Councils Network (CCN) has been at the forefront of calls for extra resource for local authorities, and had made a compelling case for the urgency of new funding in the short-term and for the continuation of essential grant funding, including the £2.5bn for social care.
“We are pleased that the government have listened to our calls for a funding boost and the additional £1bn for social care, coupled with council tax flexibilities, and £700m for special educational needs, will give councils some real breathing space over the next 18 months and will allow us to protect vital services for our communities that otherwise would have been left with a question mark hanging over them.
“It is very pleasing that temporary grants, which CCN campaigned to be retained, have now been continued and baselined into council funding. We also await further details on how additional resources announced will be distributed between councils, but we are confident that the government will ensure that county authorities receive allocations that recognise they face the largest funding gap and have been historically underfunded.
“Although this short-term funding is extremely welcome, the long-term challenge remains considerable. As our research shows, councils will face a funding gap of around £7bn by 2024/25 and there remains uncertainty over the future of the Fair Funding Review. We will seek to work with ministers and build on this year’s funding settlement to secure medium term financial certainty, a long-term funding solution to social care, and crucially, a cast-iron commitment to the implementation of the Fair Funding Review in 2021/22.”
Below, watch Cllr Williams respond to today’s announcements.