LONG-TERM cooperation from the Government is vital for local authorities facing the Coronavirus pandemic and rising care costs.
Speaking after reporting that Staffordshire County Council invested £110 million in more school places, highways and economic regeneration schemes in 2019/20 and spent £210 million on older people’s care services, council leader Philip Atkins said sustainable funding for the increasing cost of social care had to be agreed at a national level.
He said: "At the moment the cost to the county council of supporting care homes, key workers, communities, businesses and vulnerable people in Staffordshire during the Coronavirus pandemic will be in the region of £50 million and we have received around £38 million in support from central Government.
"Looking ahead, before Coronavirus struck, we had allocated two-thirds of this year’s budget to adult care and supporting vulnerable children and young people so the future implications for this authority, particularly around the rising costs of adult care and children’s services remain a serious concern.
"We are rightly accountable for how we spend our money and we cannot borrow to fund day-to-day services, so we need to work with central Government to help our communities recover economically in the short term and, in the long term, find a sustainable solution to the national problem of providing social care.”
A report covering Staffordshire County Council’s financial performance for 2019/20 given to today’s Cabinet meeting, showed the authority had balanced its books at the same time as investing more than £100 million in infrastructure for the future.
It also noted that pressures on children’s services, currently rated ‘Good’ by Ofsted, remain with the number of ‘Looked After Children’ cared for rising from 1,175 in April 2019 to a peak of 1,257 last autumn before falling slightly to 1,218 in March 2020.
The financial report covers the period until 31st March this year, so doesn’t include all the authority’s expenditure dealing with the Coronavirus pandemic.ounty council expenditure has included £20 million to support care homes, £2 million on additional PPE and more than £1.7 million supporting small businesses.