Social care crisis pushes councils to "cliff edge"

Councillor Olivia Blake
Councillor Olivia Blake
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The crisis in social care is pushing local authorities to a “cliff edge”, warns Sheffield Council.

Labour says Sheffield is suffering from huge Government cuts and a flawed system which means other parts of the country receive more funding.

Coun Olivia Blake, Cabinet Member for Finance, says the chronic underfunding of social care is becoming unsustainable.

“Nationally, we are seeing the social care crisis continue to unfold,” she said. “This crisis is pushing more councils towards the cliff edge. The chronic underfunding of social care is becoming unsustainable.

“Last year research revealed that over three quarters of councils were spending more on children’s social care than planned.

“During the last year we in Sheffield have had to put in place recovery and improvement plans in both adults and children’s social care.”

Coun Blake says increasing council tax only generates so much. “The flawed system of council tax means in Sheffield each percentage increase raises £1.9m, whereas in Surrey it raises £6.6m.”

Despite this, Sheffield is investing £15m into social care. There will be funding to recruit more foster carers and more training and support for social workers.

Coun Blake added: “We believe more people should be able to live longer in their communities, being resilient and independent. We also will be looking for ways in which technology can help us improve our services. And we will work with partner organisations to protect the most vulnerable. We want people to be able to access support in their local neighbourhoods and their homes.”

The Lib Dems say they would invest £500,000 in carers. Coun Adam Hanrahan, Shadow Cabinet Member for Finance, explained: “We would utilise half a million of the recent social care grant from Government for training carers, because carers who feel well trained and appreciated are more likely to stay in the job and it will mean that our carers are at the forefront of the profession.”