Influx of complex social care cases leaves £4m black hole in council budget

Increases in both children's and adults social care workload prompts call for government to fund missing millions

An increase in the number of Plymouth residents with complex needs and 38 more children taken into care than planned for has led to a £4m black hole in the council’s budget.

A report presented to the cabinet last week has found that a projected total overspend of £4.6m by Plymouth council this year is largely due to overstretched budgets in both adults’ and children’s services.

The council said increasing demand in adult social care had resulted in numerous costly care packages. On top of this, the council is currently caring for 38 more children than planned for.

A council spokeswoman said Plymouth has launched a “large-scale programme to change the way it delivers it services in order to reduce the projected funding gap,” which otherwise will leave a shortfall in next year’s budget, and reduced spending power to care for the city’s most vulnerable people.

Councillor Mark Lowry said: “The council has been working hard to manage its budget carefully.”

“Unfortunately at the same time we are experiencing a rapid increase in demand for care services for the most vulnerable people in our community. We need to provide them with intensive care packages so they can stay home wherever possible,” he said.

The council is not alone in feeling the effects of deep cuts, but it says it is currently receiving nearly 25% below what it should in public health grants, with just £47 per head coming in from central government compared with £77 in Portsmouth and £67 in Brighton and Hove.

Councillor Lowry said: “We will be continuing to campaign to try and get the government to fund Plymouth the missing millions it owes the people of Plymouth.”

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