Councils could save £6bn a year if they had local control over integrated health and social care budgets, according to the Local Government Association.
The LGA has published a “white paper” setting out how councils could make savings ahead of the spending review, due later this month.
The report, titled “Local budgets: Building the Big Society from the neighbourhood up,” advocates the devolution of power through local budgets, which would allow councils to reduce administration costs and join up local services.
“Britain’s new government has chosen to raise high expectations among localists,” said Baroness Eaton, chair of the LGA.
“It is clear to me that there are achievable savings available from local budgeting over the spending review period and beyond that could protect the frontline services people rely on.”
Integrated health and social care budgets would allow councils to cut bureaucracy and waste by enabling a co-ordinated approach to hospital admissions and long-term care, the report found.
And targeted work with families likely to be a drain on a wide range of public services, including social services, the NHS and police, would be simpler with a local budget.
“We should cut 100% of the waste, red tape and junketing before we even contemplate reductions in frontline services to communities,” said the report.
“The spending review should make savings before it starts to make cuts.”
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