‘It’s not the winning lottery ticket’ – Sheffield council chiefs dismay over Government’s social care funding

The Government’s £86 billion funding of adult social care is not a “winning lottery ticket” for Sheffield Council, warn officers.

Thursday, 23rd September 2021, 2:41 pm

The investment will go to the NHS and will not help the council fill the black hole in its budget which is predominantly caused by social care.

The council is predicting an overspend on its revenue budget of £43.4m of which £30.9m – 71 per cent – is in adult and children’s social care.

Head of accounting, Paul Schofield, said: “We’re still working through the details of the budget for next year, but I don’t think that announcement substantially changes local authorities’ positions at the moment.

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“It’s not the winning lottery ticket that we probably need to close the gap.

“The majority of the £36 billion that’s been promised is to go to the NHS so, immediately there is no direct benefit which we can see.

“There could be some indirect benefits which will come to us from changes that will happen in services delivered by the NHS towards the end of the three year period which the money has been promised for.

“This is a sober assessment of the authority’s position. I think it’s one which is realistic, and I think it underlines the challenges which everyone will face in the next few months.”

Coun Cate McDonald, Executive member for finance, blamed the Government for the council being in such a serious position.

“We’ve not been working on the assumption that we’re going to get massive new funding from this government, because that would be unrealistic, but the funding for adult social care is actually not going to help councils to provide much needed care services in the short term.

“I want to really reassure the public that the whole council is focused on addressing this challenge, but there are going to be no easy solutions.

“Let’s not let the government off the hook, national action is required because this is not just a Sheffield problem.

“It’s a national problem that social care is underfunded, the government is not addressing that and these latest proposals are not a solution.”