Extra cash for bed-blocking causes row

A Welsh assembly decision to divert money intended to cushion
council tax increases into tackling delayed discharges has angered
local government leaders.

In last month’s pre-budget statement, chancellor Gordon Brown
announced £22m to “meet the needs and concerns of Welsh

But assembly finance minister Sue Essex has now revealed that most
of the cash – £19.5m – will go to social care to help tackle
the problem of delayed discharge.

Welsh Local Government Association leader Harry Jones said it was
“very regrettable” that the Welsh assembly had decided not to allow
councils the same flexibility to decide local spending priorities
as the chancellor had granted to English councils.

Meanwhile, Age Concern Cymru called for a review of the care system
to tackle delayed discharges adding that the additional money would
not solve the long-term crisis in care for older people.

It is also concerned that many older people in Wales will struggle
to meet higher council taxes.

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