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Local authority spending: Cuts are unacceptable to carers

The Comprehensive Spending Review was the start, now the game has got real. This week, Government announced how much each local authority and primary care trust (PCT) will receive in 2011/12 and it is now up to them to decide how to spend the cash.

So far, charities and the sector have given grave portent of councils being forced into swinging cuts and services being lost. But we are wrong to continue this hands up in horror approach.

Firstly, the average cut for each council is 4.4%. Now, when you are talking about council budgets of £200m, then this is a lot of money – £8.8m. But think about it, 4.4% does not require whole services cut or individual funding packages ravaged as we have been hearing.

Inflation does mean the real term reduction is more and similar cuts will be made in 2012/13, but councils will also be able to find savings without cutting services. By playing up the funding reduction, we give councils cover for cuts to social services that they don’t need to make.

Indeed, you could argue that there should be no cut to social services.

The Department of Health gives grants to councils for adult social care and this forms part of the total grant to local authorities. These grants, such as the Carers’ Grant, have previously been an identifiable amount within the total grant although not ring-fenced.

For 2011/12, these grants will continue and INCREASE in line with inflation. The only difference is that they are no longer identified within the total grant given to each council.

So, we’ve done it instead. Take the Carers’ Grant for each council in 2010/11 and increase it by 3% (current inflation is 3.3%) and you have the indicative amount for each council’s share of the Carers’ Grant in 2011/12.

With the additional £100m given to PCTs for 2011/12 to spend on carers, which is meant to be pooled with council’s budgets, there is no excuse to cut support for carers. No excuse at all.

The NHS Operating Framework, published along with each PCT’s budget, says every PCT must work with carers’ organisations and councils to publish policies, plans and budgets to support carers. This Government and Paul Burstow should be applauded for this instruction.

The reality is councils have no excuse to cut carers’ services and PCTs are to discuss with us and councils how their extra money is to be used. Folks, we’re here ready to talk. And not about cuts, but about the extra support that carers need and deserve.

Take care,

Gordon

Note:                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Read in detail on the local authority spending for 2011-2012

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December 17, 2010 - Posted by | Benefits, Carers Strategy, Conservatives, David Cameron, Liberal Democrats | , , , , , ,

3 Comments »

  1. As well as this the abolition of the ILF will impact thousands of sick and disabled and their Carers. Effectively HALVING their support payments and putting extra strain on Carers finances inevitably. LAs will not be able to supply the extra services that to many. Life will merely be survived not enjoyed by many with these cruel cuts.

    Comment by ians12 | December 17, 2010 | Reply

  2. It seems you have stunned us into silence Gordon, with your suggestion that there should be no cuts. The government seem to be of the opinion that they are giving extra funding for social care, including carers – but then have no control over how that money is identified, much less spent. Having checked with our commissioner locally it seems the story is not quite as you say – in fact the expected funding cuts in Camden are greater than average. We are awaiting the decisions on spending which will be announced mid-January – when there will be a round of consultations. We already have cuts to services here and the general feel is one of “tighten your belts” – it is worrying that there also appears to be some practice which is bordering on illegal in terms of carers being manipulated and coerced into doing more than they are willing or able to… I think there will be many more challenges and judicial reviews because of this.

    Comment by Jill Pay | December 21, 2010 | Reply

  3. Hi Jill
    Stunned into silence?! I don’t believe it. 🙂 I’m not suggesting that some council run services will be reduced/cut but that you can justifiably argue that social services should not be those that are because of the extra funding made available specifically for those.

    However, what many councils are considering is cutting social services to reduce cuts in other areas, which is a legitimate choice, but one that I disagree with. And I don’t think that it is something we should accept because we have come to expect massive cuts. Especially as central government funding for social care has increased in line with inflation, and specifically regarding carers, NHS should be pooling £100m with council budgets to increase services.

    I would love to have a review of council expenditure this time next year to see which council items of expenditure took the biggest cuts, and which carried on as before.
    Gordon

    Comment by Gordon Conochie | December 26, 2010 | Reply


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