Cllr Steve Count, Leader of Cambridgeshire County Council has welcomed an additional £1.6m announced by the government in its final Local Government Settlement for Cambridgeshire, paying particular tribute to local MPs Heidi Allen and Lucy Frazer who have been in the very forefront of moves to take the county’s fairer funding message to government.
“While welcoming this additional government grant allocation, it is once again allocated on the existing formula” Cllr Count said. “So two neighbouring counties with populations of just 15% more than us received 30% more in this one off grant, and LB Lambeth, received 30% more per head of population.”
“This, clearly demonstrates the funding inequalities we’ve been highlighting through our FairDeal4Cambs campaign and how we need to continue to raise this issue at the very highest level. I know our MPs, with Heidi Allen and Lucy Frazer at the forefront, continue to do this.”
The final Revenue Support Settlement for 2018/19 included additional one-year allocations for the county of just over £185k to support unaccompanied asylum seeking children and £1.452m for adult social care, alongside an expectation that Ministers “will … see councils use this to build on their progress so far in supporting sustainable local care markets”.
The additional funding will be used next year to support a major extension of the council’s re-ablement service and in buying more interim beds in residential and nursing homes to support older people who need to be discharged from hospital. The cost of supporting unaccompanied asylum seeking children in 2017/18 has risen due to the number needing support post 18 years of age, the additional funding allocated will help us to continue to provide this support.
There has been considerable attention given this year to the pressures faced by the NHS, particularly acute hospitals, and social care.
So far in 2017/18 Cambridgeshire County Council has had additional winter pressures amounting to some £1.5m and this is rising, with pressure unlikely to reduce. Referrals from Addenbrookes hospital to social care have risen from 100, to 150 a week in the last few months.
“We are already using money from our general reserves to cope with these pressures which are unrelenting, and are certainly likely to reoccur in future years – which means a one year grant is helpful but does not solve our issues,” said Cllr Count. “We are also trialling new and innovative ways of supporting older people safely and with dignity through such projects as our Neighbourhood Cares pilots in Soham and St Ives and in our current campaign to recruit 100 more re-ablement workers to add to our existing team of 200” .
“I am pleased the Government listened and responded to the need for additional funding for Cambridgeshire, “said Heidi Allen, MP for South Cambridgeshire. “The issue of adult social care will be one of the greatest challenges we face in our generation so it is right that the county council explore innovative new models to meet future demand. We are lucky to have highly skilled and dedicated staff in our local authorities and NHS providers who have agreed to work together to find new solutions. In Westminster, I will continue to push for fairer funding for Cambridgeshire as we transition to a funding model which sees us keep more of our hard earned business rates.”