Adult social care is an absolutely vital public service that supports some of our most vulnerable people and promotes the wellbeing and independence of many more.
Our care and support system is under enormous pressure, and to illustrate the challenge facing councils, we have produced a tool that puts you in control of the purse strings.
The real job of making the figures balance is highly complex so we have simplified the job slightly by selecting some of the areas that are most likely to be affected. The Children's Services budget has been frozen because it is a statutory, high-risk responsibility, which itself faces a funding gap; similarly, the Public Health budget has also been locked because it is ring-fenced and therefore can't be reduced.
Councils have already been forced to make major cuts to various public services, dip into reserves, and significantly streamline administrative overheads to plug the black hole in their budgets. Along with a raft of efficiency savings, they have also developed a number of creative ways to generate income.
Councils, the NHS, charities and care providers are united about the need for an urgent injection of genuinely new additional government funding to protect services caring for elderly and disabled people. Therefore, it is hugely disappointing that the provisional local government finance settlement for 2017/18 does not include any new money from central government for services for the most vulnerable. Following this unified call, the LGA is calling for an urgent and fundamental review of social care and health before the Spring Budget on 8 March.
Yourtown's size and budget is based on an average English local authority. The council spends £94.6m annually on adult social care - but faces a funding gap of £17.1 million. So what would you do?