Council will struggle to maintain social care after funding cut

Edinburgh Council will struggle to maintain its social care provision after being one of the worst hit by the Scottish government’s local authorities settlement, the lead member for social care has warned.

Edinburgh is one of six authorities set to see their central government revenue funding drop by 4.5% in 2011-12, the highest percentage cut.

Paul Edie, convenor for health, social care and housing, said: “We will be struggling to stand still on social care provision.” He said in the past the council had always looked to free-up resources to meet more people’s needs but that this would be impossible given the scale of cuts imposed by the Scottish government.

“We were expecting a little bit more than we got [in the local government settlement],” he added. “I’m disappointed that we seem to have gotten squeezed out again but my job is to do what I can to protect services for the vulnerable people.”

Edie was optimistic that Edinburgh would get substantial support from a £70m Scottish government change fund, earmarked to fund greater integration of health and social care. The fund was announced alongside the details of the local government settlement last week. Edinburgh is expected to receive £6.9m, which must be spent on joint projects with health.

The Scottish government has said this funding is only available to councils who freeze their 2011-12 council tax at 2010-11 levels.

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