Archive for the ‘County Council’ Category

County Council’s Network released: A New Deal for Counties: Our Plan for Government

Briefing for Town and Parish Councils/Neighbourhood forums

In August the County Council’s Network released:  A New Deal for Counties: Our Plan for Government, which sets out the collective priorities for county authorities.

It shows something we all know to be the truth.  That County Councils receive less funding per head than all other council types, while levels of demand are rising faster in rural areas than those in more urban areas – particularly in adult social care and children’s services which are our key responsibilities.

It also makes clear that it is more costly to deliver services in rural areas to fulfil the government’s agenda for greater independence and choice – e.g. home to school transport, home care, faster broadband/improved mobile access

But while we know this, funding for local government beyond 2020/21 is unclear

So during September, we will be working with other shire counties across England to give a message to our own MPs to take back to government that we urgently seek reforms to local government finance to secure sustainable and fairer funding.

Our campaign – Fairdeal4Cambs – is targeted at getting county  MPs to press for

Reinstating work on the Fair Funding Review. County councils currently receive less funding per head than all other council types from government. The current system means that

  • Counties receive just £271 of funding for services per head
  • London boroughs receive average funding of £563 per head.

The dropping of the Local Government Finance Bill and 100% business rates retention (BRR) means that funding beyond 2020/21 is unclear.  Cambridgeshire’s Rate Support Grant (RSG) goes negative in 19/20, an issue originally intended to be wrapped and replaced by the BRR scheme.

A long-term solution to social care funding. In Cambridgeshire, delivering core services relies on funding to resource them. Our aging population means that funding social care is the most significant challenge we face. By 2020/21 we face a potential funding gap of more than £46.2m on adult social care alone, even after the additional money announced in March.

It is essential that Government delivers on its commitment to publish a wide-ranging consultation on adult social care.  Cambridgeshire has to be a low spender on Adult Social Care due to lack of available finance: spending the equivalent of £302 per adult per annum compared to an average amongst our statistical neighbours of £342.   This amounts to a funding shortfall exceeding £15m per year on Adult Social Care which, if available,  could deliver so much more

Between 2011 and 2016 the number of people aged 65+ in Cambridgeshire grew by 17.0% compared to 14.6% regionally and 13.2% nationally. .

Support for preventative children’s social care Placement Pressures – a recent increase in the volume of children needing care in Cambridgeshire – even though we have kept the % rise lower than the national average.  Those children who need care have increasingly complex needs. This results in pressure on foster care placements and an increases in the price of care

Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children –  we have seen a dramatic increase in unaccompanied asylum seeking children over the last couple of years – rising from 5 to 65 – this has increased our costs and number of placements we have available

Care proceedings – There has been a 11.94% increase in  the rate of Cambridgeshire care applications to Court over the last 12 months, in comparison with a 3.60%  across our Local Authority ‘family’ and 7.35% across England.

A Modern and Fair Education System

The current  funding formula dating back to 2005, has led to county schools being underfunded for a number of years, with an inexplicable gap of 47% between the average per pupil funding received by counties and Inner London boroughs.

Cambridgeshire is currently ranked 120th out of 151 local authorities in terms of money received per pupil – with our children receiving  £2,000 per year less for their education than those in better funded areas.

Home to school transport – The legislation governing home to school transport has remained largely unchanged for over 70 years and it is time for a review.    Cambridgeshire, predominantly rural in nature, currently spends more than £8m a year on getting  children to and from school. Please help us and offer your support to the campaign by writing to your local MP and urging them to speak up in Parliament and to join with the other 266 shire County MPs to press for change.

Cllr Steve Criswell Chair of the Communities and Partnerships Committee Cambridgeshire County Council

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