County council leader welcomes Budget announcement of additional funding

PLEDGES for additional short-term funding to ease the funding pressure on adult social care, extra money to tackle potholes and £1.6bn to deliver the industrial strategy have been welcomed by Staffordshire County Council’s leader.

Chancellor Philip Hammond outlined the measures together with more details of the £20bn for the NHS – and the extra £650m for councils to help manage the growing adult social care bill next year.

Staffordshire County Council leader Philip Atkins said: “We are committed to supporting a strong economy by creating the best conditions for business and housing development, so additional money for roads, science and innovation and measures to leave families with a little more money in their pockets are always welcome.

“It was also good to see the Chancellor acknowledge the huge financial pressures councils face in funding care with additional funding for 2019/20. However, it is clear that the nation still urgently needs a long-term solution to funding the care of a growing ageing population.”

The county council has seen the cost of funding adult social care and supporting children in its care increase by more than £100m in the past ten years – at a time when national funding has continued to fall.

As a result, the council faces a shortfall of £35m in its budget for next year and has outlined a range of proposals in its draft budget to be able to balance its books.

Coun Atkins, pictured, added: “As a county council we have already reduced our running costs by £240m in the past nine years, but the rising costs of care means we have had no choice but to look at which non-statutory services we can still continue to fund.

“We are continuing to press for the need to address the long term funding of care and will see how this is addressed through the green paper and the Local Government Financial Settlement later in the year.”

The county council will present its final budget plans to full council in February 2019.