Government 'loads burden' of paying for adult social care on to 'hard-working families' in Sheffield

Sheffield councillors have criticised the government for forcing it to raise council tax to pay for adult social care.

Friday, 12th February 2021, 12:30 pm

They say longer-term funding 'has just not materialised' forcing them to 'load the burden on the back of hard-working families in our city'.

Concerns were raised by the overview and scrutiny management committee.

It heard Sheffield City Council received 'one-off' injections from government each year but it was not enough. The authority is planning to increase council tax by 1.99 per cent this year- with a three per cent increase in the adult social care precept on top.

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Concerns were raised by the overview and scrutiny management committee.

Coun Cate McDonald said a budget consultation showed social care was a key priority for residents.“Although we were reluctant to recommend the additional three per cent social care precept, the government yet again left us no option but to find a way of supporting our people through doing that.”Coun Steve Ayris said: “Social care had been in a fragile state long before Covid struck.“We have had a series of promises from this government that there would be legislation to show us the way forward on longer-term funding of adult social care which has just not materialised, that has been going on for several years now.“Covid has highlighted in the public eye just how fragile social care is, and it’s not just in Sheffield.“I just wanted to add my disappointment at the announcement from government about social care, it does not address that major issue of long-term funding.”Coun Terry Fox, cabinet member for finance, added: “This government is loading the burden on the back of hard-working families in our city and that is the issue with this. Local taxation puts the burden away from them and onto organisations and councils like ourselves and then we are having to make those cuts.”The committee formally noted its criticism of the government for a failure to deliver sustainable funding for local government, in particular adult social care.Budget plans will now be presented at a meeting of the council’s cabinet next week before it is finally approved at full council in March.

Eugene Walker, director of resources, said: “It’s disappointing that we have another year where we don’t have an answer for what the future funding of adult social care is.

“For several years now each budget we have had an injection of one-off funding from government that has assisted but hasn’t really given any certainty and we still don’t have certainty about the long-term."David Phillips, head of strategic finance, added: “It’s also worth saying it is a fact that when we raise our adult social care precept we raise less money than wealthier authorities in the south are able to raise.“Although the government is putting the responsibility more onto us...that doesn’t address the difficulties we have compared to authorities in the South who are better able to fund their precept.”Coun Mick Rooney added: “In effect what happens is those with the most need are able to raise the least.”

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