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Council leader calls on government to sort social care spending

07 February 2018

Council Leader Allen Brett. Rochdale borough's council leader is calling on the government to sort out social care funding once and for all following the announcement of extra money for adult social care services.

Councillor Allen Brett says the system needs more certainty and security and that northern councils are being particularly hard hit by spending cuts.

He spoke out after it emerged that more than a third of the £150 million package of extra government support for councils would go to rural shire county councils rather than hard-pressed metropolitan boroughs.

The council leader said the announcement, designed to help alleviate pressures in the social care system, was a missed opportunity to tackle the ongoing spending shortfall.

He said the government was failing to deliver a more integrated health and social care funding system, citing the potential £2.3 billion national funding gap facing adult social care by 2020.

Last autumn it was announced the health service would receive an extra £1.6 billion of spending 2018-2019, which contrasts with the £150 million extra announced for adult social care.

Councillor Brett said: "I welcome the government's overdue recognition that there is a huge shortfall in social care spending, so in that sense the extra cash is a very small step in the right direction.

'The government is simply taking with one hand and giving with another'

"In reality this is a short-term fix rather than a long-term solution. Rochdale borough's share of the cash will help, but yet again the government is simply giving with one hand and taking with another. Quite simply, adult social care funding needs to have equal priority with health spending.

"In the last eight years Rochdale Borough Council suffered huge cuts in government spending, totalling nearly £200 million with more on the way this year. That is simply not sustainable.

"The government has been asleep at the wheel and it's going to take a bit more than this one off spending to get the social care system back on track. I will be writing to the minister seeking urgent answers as to why most of the cash is going to well off county councils."

Councillor Brett added that the Rochdale borough social care system was sustained, delivering award winning services, thanks to the hard work of dedicated staff.

Rochdale's social care team deliver scores of pioneering services across the borough, providing support for vulnerable adults, the elderly and those in need of care.

He said: "We have a superb team of health and social staff who, in the face of huge national spending cuts, deliver fantastic services across the borough. They are absolute stars."

Over the past 8 years the council has had to make £176 million of savings against its planned budget. Between 2018-2020 the council expects to have to save a further £23 million.