Responding to the Association of Directors of Social Services budget survey for 1996-97, Mr Horam said:
'This survey does not add up to an objective and realistic assessment of the resources available to social services. From April, every local authority will receive a real terms increase for social services at a time when public spending is undoubtedly tight.
'This year's personal social services standard spending will be over £7.5bn, including the ring fenced £418m for community care, a rise of 8% over last year.
'It is for councils to decide their priorities and to use resources effectively to deliver quality social services. They should be ready to scrutinise their spending to eliminate waste and inefficiency. Where they decide to reduce spending, I hope they will not miss the opportunity to cut-back on bureaucracy, and to close care homes owned by the council where the service can be provided with better value by the independent sector.'
-- PSS standard spending will be £7,511m in 1996-97. This represents the government's view of appropriate expenditure. The equivalent figure for 1995-96 is £6,966m. The 1996-97 figure has two components: £5,255m for existing responsibilities; and £2,256m for their new community care responsibilities.