The leader of Nottinghamshire County Council says he is seeking urgent assurances from the Government that the county will not be left short changed if additional funding is provided for under-pressure social care services elsewhere in the UK.
Texts allegedly sent between sent between Surrey County Council leader David Hodge and a government official named Nick supposedly show that the local authority had been offered a special deal to call off the referendum. Nottinghamshire County Council leader Alan Rhodes said that Surrey County Council has already received an additional £20 million more than labour-run Nottinghamshire in a transition grant and now it would seem the Government are offering them a further deal that will not be offered to Nottinghamshire either.
Councillor Alan Rhodes, leader of Nottinghamshire County Council is seeking a guarantee from Sajid Javid, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government that vulnerable children, the elderly and people with disabilities in Nottinghamshire will receive the same level of funding as those in Surrey and other parts of the UK.
Despite suffering £212m in Government funding cuts since 2010, Nottinghamshire County Council has announced plans to spend an additional £15m on social care next year to meet increased local demand, which is likely to be predominantly funded by local taxpayers through a 4.75% Council Tax increase and Social Care Levy approved by Government.
The County Council’s main source of Government funding, the Revenue Support Grant, has been cut by 30.7% this year as part of an overall reduction in funding of 10.6%.
In the letter sent today, Councillor Rhodes said:“We pride ourselves in Nottinghamshire as having met the financial challenges of the last few years by taking an innovative, transformative and responsible approach.
“However, like many other local authorities, we are experiencing inexorable pressures on our adult social care and children’s social care budgets, which now consume two-thirds of our overall spending. This makes it increasingly difficult for us to fund these statutory services to a sufficient level, and is having a detrimental impact on our other, more discretionary services. Despite our track record of responding positively to the twin challenges of reducing Government funding and rising demand, this funding situation is having a negative effect on many of the residents we serve.
“We would regard any special financial arrangement between the Government and Surrey County Council in the circumstances as unfair.
“Please can you assure me that all local authorities that provide these vital services, such as Nottinghamshire, will also benefit from any additional funding sources that are to be made available, and if so, when? Never has there been a more critical time to properly fund local services and I hope this latest crisis in confidence is seen as a catalyst to review what has become an untenable situation.”