Plea for help as £17.7m to be wiped off adult social care budget
- Credit: Archant
Council leaders have highlighted the need for proper adult care funding as Norfolk County Council looks to make almost £40m of savings next year.
The Conservative-controlled council say it needed to find just over £39m of savings next year - or £47.8m if it was to make the unlikely decision to freeze council tax.
The cabinet discussed the funding gap at a meeting on Monday, with £17.7m from adult social services and £8.7m from children's services among the latest savings drive.
Andrew Jamieson, cabinet member for finance, told colleagues that Covid and rising care costs were of "huge concern" for next year's budget.
"We still wait for a suitable long-term solution to the provision of adult social care," he said.
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“Local government funding cannot be sustainable until the funding of adult social care is sustainable.”
Mr Jamieson added a solution to this “critical and ever-increasing problem is long overdue”.
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The cabinet member described putting up council tax by 1.99pc as "almost centrally mandated".
The leader of the council, Andrew Proctor, said that the budget pressures could not be entirely supported by either council tax increases or savings and there would have to be a balance.
He echoed Mr Jamieson’s calls for adult social care funding from central government and said he had written to Sajid Javid, the new health minister, to remind him of the need.
A green paper on social care reform has been delayed, to the frustration of politicians from all parties.
In his letter, Mr Proctor invited Mr Javid to come to Norfolk to see how the council and the wider health system had supported the government's work to combat Covid-19.
Cabinet members agreed to a series of recommendations, including closing the £39m budget gap in 2022-23, reviewing the budget risks and implications of announcements made in the spring budget, and the proposed approach to budget setting.
Details of cuts have yet to be decided, with public consultation expected in October.
Proposed savings for next year, per department, are:
- Adult Social Services: £17.7m
- Children's Services: £8.7m
- Community and Environmental Services: £8.7m
- Finance and Commercial Services: £1.8m
- Finance General: £1.3m
- Governance: £0.4m
- Strategy and Transformation: £0.5m
- Total savings target: £39.1m