The briefing covers the consultation on the local government finance settlement for 2017/18 and indicative settlements for 2018/19 and 2019/20.
No new money from central government has been included in the settlement. The Government has, however, created more flexibility by allowing the social care precept to rise by an additional 1 per cent in 2017/18 and 2018/19 (from 2 per cent to 3 per cent), on condition that the total increase to 2019/20 does not exceed 6 per cent. However, as the total allowable precept increase over the remaining years of the Spending Review remains the same, this flexibility does not address the £2.6 billion funding gap facing social care by the end of the decade.
By bringing forward council tax raising powers, the Government has recognised the LGA's call for the urgent need to help councils tackle some of the immediate social care pressures they face. However, this shifts the burden of tackling a national crisis onto councils and their residents.
The measures announced in today's settlement will help in part but fall well short of what is needed to fully protect the care services for elderly and vulnerable people today and in the future. In addition, increasing the precept raises different amounts of money for social care in different parts of the country unrelated to need and will add an extra financial burden on already struggling households.
Councils, the NHS, charities and care providers have been clear both before and since the Autumn Statement about the need for an urgent injection of genuinely new additional Government funding to protect care services for elderly and disabled people. Given this unified call for action, it is hugely disappointing that today's settlement has failed to find any new money to tackle the growing crisis in social care.