LGA makes £8.4bn spending review pitch for children and care

The Local Government Association has said councils will need an extra £8.4bn over the next three years to deal with new pressures in children’s services and adult social care.

Ahead of next week’s expected pre-election comprehensive spending review, which will set out government expenditure limits from 2008-11, the LGA said population pressures and government policy would require an extra £9.6bn for English councils overall. Most of this is needed for children’s services and adult social care.

The figure reflects the total quantity of extra funding required over the three years, discounting price and wage increases, and councils would be able to finance the increases from council tax as well as government grant.

However, the bulk must come from government funding, amid fears that funding for councils will be frozen in real terms from 2008-11, to accommodate increases for the NHS. This week, Association of Directors of Adult Social Services president Anne Williams said she believed negotiations were still in process over councils’ and the NHS’ respective share.

The LGA said children’s services funding pressures totalled £5.75bn and those for adult social care were £2.68bn.

Association chair Simon Milton warned: “With the increasing demands of caring for an ageing population it will be likely that unless the investment needed in implementing these additional new burdens comes from central government then subsidised care services for older people will have to heavily restricted or cut.”

The government is reportedly considering announcing the CSR on Monday to enable prime minister Gordon Brown to call an election next week.

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