Call to raise funding for social services

The Local Government Association is fighting
for more government funding for social services, in the wake of the
latest proposals for this year’s local government finance

An LGA delegation met local government
minister Nick Raynsford and health minister Jacqui Smith last week
to re-emphasise the “huge financial shortages still facing social
services across the country”.

The LGA has also joined forces with the
Association of Directors of Social Services and the Societies of
County and Municipal Treasurers to produce a new comprehensive
survey – due to report next month – of how much councils are
currently spending over their government allocation and what
funding they will need in the next financial year.

LGA chairperson Sir Jeremy Beecham said he was
pleased at the total increase in local government funding, but was
“very disappointed” at the lack of new money for personal social
services, beyond that allocated in the Spending Review 2000.

Councils are already spending more than
£1bn over their spending allocation, because of growing
demand, he added. And while the government’s £300m winter
pressures bed-blocking grant announced last year would go some way
to addressing the problem, it was simply not enough. “We have
therefore pressed the government to consider boosting the
allocation for social services,” he said.

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