North Yorkshire County Council says ending vital adult social care funding from next year would be "catastrophic"

The council responsible for England's largest county has warned that it would be "catastrophic" if the millions of pounds in funding it gets every year to pay for adult social care is not continued by the Government.

Thursday, 29th August 2019, 4:36 pm
County councils are worried that vital funding to pay for care for the elderly and vulnerable will end from next year. Pic: Anchor

North Yorkshire County Council has joined other similar authorities in urging Chancellor Sajid Javid to use next week's spending review to confirm that they will still receive funding currently deemed to be 'at risk'.

This funding, which includes the Improved Better Care Fund, the adult social care grant, and the winter pressures grant, totals almost £2.4bn worth of funding nationally to preserve vital care services for the elderly and vulnerable.

In North Yorkshire this amounts to £36m of temporary money for adults alone. The council says it is "inconceivable" that this would not be continued as it totals nearly half of all grant funding from government for local adult care services.

The 'at risk' funding is used for projects including a discharge hub in Harrogate and Scarborough, where social care staff work with NHS teams to decide on a case-by-case basis what needs to be done to help patients be discharged from hospital.

Richard Webb, Corporate Director of Health and Adult Services, told The Yorkshire Post: "This year alone the council put in an additional £9m of its own resources into the adult social care budget.

"With the uncertainty of government funding we are now having to plan for scenarios that may or may not happen. Making decisions in this context is extremely difficult, especially when we are heading into winter with all the additional pressures it brings.

"We will simply be unable to make up this funding and it would be catastrophic if the Government does not replicate it - we will have to start making some very difficult decisions which will impact on the lives of people most in need."

County councils are worried that vital funding to pay for care for the elderly and vulnerable will end from next year. Pic: Anchor

New analysis by the County Councils Network, which includes East Riding of Yorkshire Council, says the £2.4bn of funding for care services for the elderly and younger adults has yet to be confirmed by Whitehall despite it representing up to one-third of total government grant funding for councils.

But with a General Election predicted in the coming months, it has been reported that Mr Javid will prioritise funding announcements for the NHS, schools, and the police at next week’s Spending Review.

David Williams, chairman-elect of the County Councils Network, and leader of Hertfordshire County Council: “It would be inconceivable that the temporary grants – particularly the Better Care Fund - that have allowed us to prop up care services and address pressures on the NHS over the past few years, will not continue.

"But we are still in the dark over whether this lifeline for care services will continue.

“With budget planning for 2020/21 underway, we will reluctantly have to seek to decommission services that are directly funded by these grants in the coming months, in order to present a balanced budget next year – unless this funding is continued."

The Treasury has been contacted for a comment.