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Social care benefits from £650m 'short-term fix'

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Philip Hammond has used his Budget to announce an additional £650m to tide social care over until the comprehensive spending review.

The money for 2019-20 – predicted by LGC last week – is augmented by a further £55m for the disabled facilities grant and £84m over five years to boost innovation in children’s services.

In addition, councils will receive a £420m fund to repair potholes and undertake other road repairs.

An extra £240m for social care this year was announced earlier this month. An extra £240m “will be reserved for adult social care” in 2019-20, the Budget red book said. There is some flexibility over the use of the remaining £410m, though. The Budget book said: “The Budget provides a further £410m in 2019-20 for adults and children’s social care. Where necessary, local councils should use this funding to ensure that adult social care pressures do not create additional demand on the NHS. Local councils can also use it to improve their social care offer for older people, people with disabilities and children.”

In his speech Mr Hammond said: “Local government has made a significant contribution to repairing the public finances and this Budget ensures local councils have more resources to deliver high quality public services.”

He said he that while the social care green paper would be published “shortly”… “I recognise the immediate pressures local authorities face in respect of social care.”

The Treasury’s red book states of the social care funding: “Where necessary, local councils should use this funding to ensure that adult social care pressures do not create additional demand on the NHS. Local councils can also use it to improve their social care offer for older people, people with disabilities and children.”

Senior King’s Fund fellow Richard Humphries tweeted that the extra care money was insufficient to fill a funding gap estimated as amounting to at least £1.5bn next year.

Nuffield Trust Chief Economist John Appleby said: “While more money going into social care will be welcome, it is another short term fix to a system nobody seriously disputes is fundamentally broken.”

County Councils Network chairman Paul Carter (Con) said: “The funding announced will help protect social care services, help meet the rising demand for care, and support fixing potholes.”

The Budget red book said the children’s services innovation fund is intended to “help more children to stay at home safely with their families” and builds upon programmes previously undertaken in Hertfordshire, Leeds and North Yorkshire.

Regarding rhe social care funding announcement, District Councils’ Network chair John Fuller (Con) said: “The recognition of districts’ role in helping the vulnerable stay independent at home for longer is particularly welcome with an additional £55m funding for disabled facilities grants to reduce the demand for adult social care. Districts are best placed to spend this in 2018-19 and we await confirmation that it will be paid directly to them.”

Mr Hammond also confirmed the lifting of the cap on housing revenue account borrowing would proceed as planned, and without any strings attached.

With regards to infrastructure spend, Mr Hammond pledged an additional £770m to extend the transforming cities fund and £675m for high streets. There is also £200m to pilot full fibre internet in rural locations and £150m for small road improvements.

 

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