NHS cuts hit county councils’ budgets

England’s county councils are spending 20 per cent over budget on adult social services, a report has found.

The report from the County Councils Network said authorities had increased social services spending by 21 per cent from 2005 to 2006.

Councils were being hit by cuts in funding from primary care trusts, the report said. Half of the counties surveyed said local PCTs had cut funding, with councils losing an average of £1.2m.

The report, based on an Association of Directors of Social Services and Local Government Association survey, said county councils were particularly being hit by increased demand for learning difficulties and older people’s services.

Ray Jones, chair of the British Association of Social Workers, said NHS cuts were leading to costs being shunted to councils, and called on the government to immediately issue specific grants for adult social care.

Mark Charters, director of community services at Northamptonshire Council, which plans to tighten its eligibility criteria, said funding problems had raised the spectre of a return to the gulf between government  spending on core clinical services and social care in the 1980s.


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