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£50m to ease Hampshire's social care crisis

Posted on 21/07/2017 by

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HAMPSHIRE is to receive a £50m government windfall to ease its adult care crisis.

Chancellor Philip Hammond has given the county the cash as it struggles to cope with a mounting social care bill.

Hampshire social service bosses will get £37 million while their Southampton counterparts will get £10 million.

But last night experts warned the money was not enough.

The money will be spent on short-term projects which will include tackling bed blocking in hospitals, providing extra care accommodation, more direct payments to carers and developing technology to help people stay in their homes for longer.

Southampton City Council will receive £9.7million over the next three years until 2020.

Hampshire County Council will receive £37m over that time period to part-plug their social care funding gap of £56m.

Of the £9.7 million SCC will get, £4.98m has been allocated for 2017/18 while the remaining £4.73m will be spent in 2018/19 and 2019/20.

In the 2017/18 social care budget, the city council will spend the most money on redeveloping Holcroft House in Thornhill to increase its residential care offering.

SCC will also spend £850,000 on providing extra training and career development for carers, £130,000 will be spent easing bed blocking at University Hospital Southampton at weekends and £100,000 will be spent on developing an enhanced out-of-hours service.

Councillor Warwick Payne, portfolio holder for adult social care on the city council, said: "The funding from central government is welcomed across all avenues.

"However the cash is only temporary which means we can only use the money for short-term projects.

"The problem is that austerity means that money available is shrinking but not demand so the government need to reform their social care system as it is not fit for purpose."

Councillor Keith Morrell, leader of the Putting People First Group on the city council said: "It's fantastic news that the city council has this money but we cannot keep relying on the government to fund our adult social care services.

"We need to find long term solutions on how funding for social care can be found.

"This grant will last only last until 2020 then we are back to square one."

The county council will spend £17 million in 2017/18, £13.4 million in 2018/19 and £6.7 million in 2019/20.

The grant comes as it is facing its ‘biggest financial challenge yet’ in plugging a £140 million funding gap, with social care facing a savings requirement of £56m by 2019/20.

Councillor Roy Perry, leader of the county council, said: "Any additional funding from central government is to be welcomed, but it does not negate the need for ongoing strong financial stewardship and we remained concerned."

Age UK's charity director, Caroline Abrahams said councils up and down the country should be "worrying" adding: "The sad irony is that it would be far more cost effective, as well as infinitely more humane, to give these older people the care and support they need. All this adds up to a compelling case for giving social care the priority it deserves. It is high time the government acts."

The funding is part of a £2bn package in extra grant funding announced by the chancellor Philip Hammond for social care in England over the next three years.

Source: DailyEcho