Scottish budget hits social care workforce spending

Direct Scottish government spending on the development of the country’s social care workforce and capacity will fall next year, finance secretary John Swinney announced yesterday in his draft budget for 2010-11.


The Scottish government will spend £61m on social care workforce and capacity in 2010-11, compared with £63.5m this year. It will also cut its contribution to the Social Work Inspection Agency from £4.4m to £4m, and spending on its Safer Children, Stronger Families division will fall from £14.6m to £13.7m.


Councils’ allocation cut in real terms


Scotland’s local authorities, which are responsible for most spending on social care, face a slight fall in real terms in their total allocation from central government for 2010-11 – from £11.76bn to £11.71bn at 2009-10 prices.


However, Swinney pledged he would protect spending on frontline services, and representative body Cosla said local authorities had received a “fair settlement under difficult circumstances”.


Scotland’s 32 local authorities plan to spend almost £2.78n on social work in 2009-10.


Concordat commitments


In November 2007, Cosla and the Scottish government signed a concordat setting out joint commitments on public services and total funding from 2008-09 to 2010-11.


This included several key spending commitments on social care, notably that local authorities should provide allowances to kinship carers of looked-after children, at rates set by the Fostering Network, and improve care home quality.


Budget cut in real terms


The total Scottish budget of £29.7bn for 2010-11 represents a 1% decrease from 2009-10 when adjusted for inflation.


But the health budget will rise by 2.4%, with NHS Boards receiving an extra 2.7% on average.


The Budget Bill for 2010-11 will go before the Scottish Parliament in January 2010.


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