Somerset Council ask for government help
Somerset Council has written to the Department of Health and Social Security asking for financial help. In a letter to Helen Whately, the Minister of State, Dean Ruddle lays out some of the council’s problems. Cllr Ruddle is the Lead Member for Adult Social Care and Somerset Councillor for Somerton.
Cllr Ruddle points out that the financing model for local government is broken. Costs of residential care placements have, he says, risen by 47% in the space of a year. The demand for care hours for the average person needing care has also risen from 12 to 14 hours a week.
Overall he estimates that the increase in adulty social care costs, not the whole budget, will be £70m in 2024/25. The bottom line for Cllr Ruddle is that spiralling adult social care costs are the biggest pressure on the council’s finances.
Of course the fact that Somerset has a disproportionately high percentage of over 65s in the population does not help. Equally the fact that previous administrations froze council tax did not help. Especially as they failed to see the demographic challenge to Somerset coming. And failed to understand the implications of it.
Cllr Ruddle’s letter concludes with an appeal to government for extra funding to meet the challenge of delivering adult social care. He says: “our overspend position is not because of poor control or oversight…. it is simply an exceptionally large increase in our costs.”