Dangers clear for all in funding settlement
The leader of Telford & Wrekin Council has issued a last ditch plea to the area’s MPs to join him in standing up for local services when the House of Commons debates the final Local Government Finance Settlement for 2018/19 today.
The proposed settlement would next year see Telford & Wrekin Council’s Revenue Support Grant cut by 23 per cent (£4.3m), followed by a 30 per cent cut the year after.
Council Tax would need to increase by 21 per cent just to cover the funding shortfall and extra investment Telford & Wrekin is making in Adult Social Care and Children’s Safeguarding. The Government’s proposed final settlement offers the Council a one-off additional £484,000 for Adult Social Care – just over a tenth of the cut to our main Revenue Support Grant that our MPs will be voting.
With more than 1,600 people in the borough currently receiving adult social care support from the Council, this is equivalent to just 82pence of additional funding per person per day with the funding there for one year only.
Cllr Davies said: “The situation in Northamptonshire should serve as a clear warning. If these cuts continue I won’t be surprised if other councils soon follow. The Local Government Association’s leader Lord Porter has also warned that the money for councils is running out fast.
“We have very carefully managed the situation here and are in better position than many but the cuts we must make each year become incredibly difficult.
“Since 2010, this Council has already had to make budget savings of £110 million. Based on the proposal before parliament, by 2022 we estimate that we would have to find around another £30 million budget savings. Future cuts that will be very hard to find and have ever harsher consequences on local people.
“Despite this, in order to meet demand and the needs of local people, we need to invest an extra £2.2 million more into adult social care next year – more than we’ll raise from our proposed 3.2% increase in council tax.”
Cllr Davies and finance lead Cllr Lee Carter have already written to the borough’s two MPs Lucy Allan and Mark Pritchard asking them to show “real leadership” and vote against the proposed final government funding settlement.
“Our MPs have a choice – they can support their residents and help stop cuts to vital local services. The warnings of the impact this will have for councils are coming from all political parties in local government. These cuts cannot be sustained without very serious impact on the most vulnerable in our community.
“It’s derisory to everyone working so hard to support adult social care in the borough, for example at the Council and in the care home sector, that the Government believes that an extra 82 pence a day for one year only will be enough to provide care for some of the most frail and vulnerable people in the community.
Telford & Wrekin Council’s proposed 3.2% council tax increase would be equivalent to an extra 58p a week for the average borough Band B home.
This includes a 2% increase to specifically support adult social care that Government has already assumed in its funding settlement that councils like Telford & Wrekin will make.
The remaining 1.2% increase, equivalent to a Government grant councils had received to freeze council tax, will support other services, while budgets for both vulnerable adults and children will both be increased but further savings of over £6m will need to be made next year on top of the £110m pa budget savings already made by the Council and on current projections a further £24m budget savings will be needed over the following two years.