Care services minister Paul Burstow has told Thurrock Council that they have no excuse to cut adult social care despite Wednesday’s spending review delivering cuts of 26% to councils over the next four years.
Burstow pointed to the extra £2bn in annual funding for adult care identified by chancellor George Osborne as providing councils with the resources to maintain care services at current levels.
“There is no justification for local authorities to slash and burn or for local authorities to tighten eligibility as far as the settlement goes.”
None of the £2bn is ring-fenced. Half of it has been rolled up into councils’ overall grant funding from government, which is being cut by 26% from 2011-15 in real terms; the other half has been given to the NHS to spend on social care services such as reablement. But there is no indication as yet that NHS commissioners will be mandated to spend the money on these services.
Social care leaders broadly welcomed the funding announced yesterday but have warned that it is unlikely to help councils manage the cuts or cope with demographic pressures that are estimated to add 4% a year to social care costs over the coming years.
A Thurrock Council spokesperson said: “Nothing has been agreed yet and all the proposals are currently out for consultation”
“Clearly yesterday’s announcement will need to be properly assessed and then form part of the recommendations that go back to cabinet in December once the public consultation has been completed.”