Today the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sajid Javid, announced the outcome of the 2019 Spending Round.
Cllr Peter John OBE, Chair of London Councils, said:
“On the face of it, the Spending Round looks positive for local government. We welcome the proposed increase in core spending power of 6% and additional £1 billion of grant funding for adult and children’s social care, and ask that the government confirms individual borough allocations as soon as possible. Further adult social care precept flexibility of 2% next year is also welcome, given the pressures boroughs are facing.
“The £700 million national investment in support for children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities was positive – but it is vital that this funding boost is distributed to where it is needed most.
“However the majority of these announcements only cover one year. London boroughs must now set their sights on next year’s Spending Review to secure a long-term, sustainable funding settlement for local government.
“Until then, making the case for empowering councils to provide efficient local services that meet the needs of our most vulnerable residents will become more urgent by the day.”
Adult social care
London Councils has welcomed the additional funding for adult social care announced in today’s Spending Round.
Cllr Ray Puddifoot, London Councils’ Executive Member for Health & Care, said:
“This much-needed funding boost will make a real difference to London’s frontline care services.
“Adult social care faces growing pressures in the capital due to our fast-growing population. While we still need to see further detail on how exactly this funding will be distributed, we’re pleased the government recognises the need for extra investment.
“Increasing adult social care funding will help ensure boroughs keep providing high-quality care for older Londoners and those with disabilities. Additional resources will also support boroughs maintain our record of success in helping Londoners receive care at home and avoid unnecessary hospital stays, which is essential to the performance and sustainability of London’s NHS.
“Today’s funding announcement represents an important step forward. We now need to see a long-term solution to the ongoing adult social care challenge that addresses demographic growth, the increasingly complex needs of service users, and the rising cost burden on local authorities. London boroughs look forward to working with the government to achieve this.”
London Councils’ recent State of Adult Social Care in London report showed that London boroughs achieved £480 million in adult social care savings between 2015/16 and 2017/18. Ahead of today’s Spending Round announcement, London Councils’ analysis previously suggested a funding gap of £540 million by 2025 due to the national shortfall in adult social care finances.
Demand for adult social care is increasing rapidly in London, with the capital’s population growing particularly among groups likely to require social care. The number of Londoners aged 65 and older is expected to increase by 71% by 2039 – a faster rate than any other region in England. The capital also has a higher proportion of people of working age needing social care, with the number of working-age Londoners with impaired mobility set to increase 14% by 2035.
Children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND)
Responding to confirmation of £700 million extra funding for the High Needs Block of the Dedicated Schools Grant in today's Spending Round, Cllr Nickie Aiken, London Councils’ Executive member for Schools and Children’s Services, said:
“Children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) deserve to have full access to the opportunities a good education provides. Government’s £700 million investment in SEND support, confirmed in today’s Spending Round, is a clear commitment to realising the aspirations of every child.
“London boroughs look forward to working with Government to ensure the High Needs funding boost really does transform the lives of our children and young people with SEND, both at an individual level and more broadly across London’s education system.
"Let’s see this money make a difference where it really matters - in the classroom, where the capital’s teachers can ensure every child gets a chance to make the most of their potential."