On the one hand: “extra funding for adult social care”
On the other hand: “surging demand for help and support for vulnerable children and adults, the continuing costs of the pandemic, and the dramatic rise in costs and inflation.”
There has been criticism levelled at the Chancellor for delaying the social care reforms: Jeremy Hunt put vital social care reforms on hold – and failed Britain’s most vulnerable people | Andrew Dilnot | The Guardian
However, the promise of investment in frontline council services has been welcomed:
Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s Autumn Statement, which introduced additional funding for social care and a delay to charging reforms, has been described by local government finance leaders as “better than expected”.
In response to the Autumn Statement, Chris Tambini, president of the Society of County Treasurers and director of corporate resources at Leicestershire County Council, told Room151: “The position is better than expected, and, compared to other parts of the public sector, local government has fared well. Especially welcome is the extra funding for adult social care and deferring the adult social care reforms.”
Tambini’s sentiment was echoed by Tim Oliver, chairman of the County Councils Network (CCN), who called the delay to social care reforms a “brave decision, but completely the right one”. He said: “We understand that many will be disappointed, but postponing these reforms and reinvesting significant additional funding into frontline care services is strongly welcomed and will protect the most vulnerable in our society as well as buy councils vital time to stabilise the care system.”
There have been other voices, however, expressing disappointment in the level of funding.
The leader of the district council is sympathetic to his counterpart at the county council:
John Hart, the longstanding Leader of Devon CC, is a decent, serous, old-school, one-nation politician, being sold down the river by his government. The crisis has been almost entirely caused by that government failing to properly fund both child and adult social care and pushing the problem down to the county councils. I wish him well in his campaign to be heard at Westminster.
As the leader of the county council himself says:
It’s Leader, Cllr John Hart, said: “I have been a county councillor for more than 30 years and Leader of the council for nearly 14 years, during which time we have been through austerity years and the pandemic. But our financial situation has never been so bleak as it is now.”
Surging demand for help and support for vulnerable children and adults, the continuing costs of the pandemic, and the dramatic rise in costs and inflation, leave Devon County Council needing to make £73 million savings this financial year, and it expects to have to make an additional £75 million saving next financial year. “Today’s survey from the County Councils Network (CCN) demonstrates that we are not alone, and that the predicament we find in Devon is reflected time and again across this country, impacting on vital public services relied upon by millions including the most vulnerable in our communities,” says Cllr Hart.
And this leads to bed-blocking on a large scale: More than 150 ‘bed blockers’ at the Royal Devon and Exeter Trust every day on average last month | middevonadvertiser.co.uk