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Helping vulnerable adults and older people central to budget proposals supported by Adults & Health Committee

25 January 2024

Continued investment in helping adults with learning and physical difficulties and mental health issues – and older people - was central to budget proposals supported by the county council’s Adults and Health Committee today (January 25).

The committee discussed the budget proposals, with the majority of members agreeing to support them. They recommended them to be approved by a meeting of the full council in February.

Proposed measures include helping adults with learning difficulties, physical difficulties and mental health issues – along with older people – to enjoy healthy, safe and independent lives.

This would mean allocating £35 million to meet the pressures of inflation and demand.

Next year the council is also proposing to invest £18.8 million in the adult social care external provider market to reflect increases in the National Living Wage, Real Living Wage and Consumer Price Index.

This would include a specific investment of £500,000 to help providers pay their staff the Real Living Wage, in line with the increase to £12 per hour for 2024/25.

Further investment is also proposed in the Care Together programme, which would be extended across more communities within the county, offering greater choice and control to more people.

Care Together supports the creation and growth of voluntary, community and social enterprises to help people live independently and for longer in their communities.

Proposed investment by Public Health includes preventing poor health or enabling people to manage their health issues. For example, Tobacco Control Services not only help prevent people smoking but also treat those who smoke, thus minimising their risks of poor health.

In 2024/25 the Council will receive additional funding to address smoking - around £900,000 per year for five years - funding that will focus upon addressing smokers in population groups where smoking rates are higher and people are not accessing services, such as the homeless and people with learning disabilities.

Demand for services in Adults, Health and Commissioning is expected to be £38.9 million in 2024/25. The main reasons for this include an increase in demographic demand and the cost of care and support, for all people who use services.

This has already seen an increase in numbers of people and the cost of meeting care needs (£12.1 million), alongside pay inflation, including provider increases, and general inflation.

Demand for Public Health services is forecast to be £563,000 in 2024/25 – the main reasons again being pay inflation, including provider inflation.

Beyond 2024/25, the council will be reviewing its in-house services with a focus on identifying further growth and diversification, as well as considering other efficiencies and improving the effectiveness of its in-house services.

Cllr Richard Howitt, Chair of the Adults and Health Committee said: “These proposals put vulnerable adults at the very heart of what we do, while at the same time creating a greener, fairer and more caring Cambridgeshire. Next year will be a challenging period, but I believe we can meet those challenges alongside doing the best we can for our adult population.

“Demand continues to rise across most services. This has been particularly so across older people’s bed-based care where we have seen demand increase to pre-pandemic levels. As well as increasing numbers of people accessing services, we are also seeing the levels of needs increasing, which is leading to more complex and costly packages of care being sourced. These budget proposals seek to address those needs.”

The views of all committees, those drawn from an online survey and meetings with groups including town and parish councils, business leaders and trade unions, will be combined before the Strategy, Resources and Performance Committee makes a final recommendation at its meeting on 30 January to Full Council, which then meets to debate and agree the council’s budget on 13 February.

For more information on the council’s proposals for the coming year see: Consultation begins on Cambridgeshire budget proposals ahead of ‘toughest year’ for local councils - Cambridgeshire County Council