The Leader of Somerset Council has written to Michael Gove, Secretary of State for the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC), calling for urgent action to fix the social care funding crisis.
In his letter, Cllr Bill Revans says the current funding formula for local government does not reflect the actual needs and costs of providing essential public services.
Last week Somerset Council’s Executive declared a financial emergency with budget papers showing a funding gap of £100m for 2024/25 – due mainly to an expected increase of £70m in the cost of adult social care.
Without immediate action this could lead to Somerset being forced to follow the likes of Birmingham and Woking councils by issuing a S114 notice – effectively declaring the council bankrupt.
Cllr Revans wrote:
Our overspend position is not because of poor control or oversight, nor policy decisions or legal action – rather it is simply an exceptionally large increase in our costs for demand-led services, set against our constrained ability to raise additional income. The model for funding social care is broken and we urgently need your support to ensure we can continue to care for those most in need.
Cllr Revans explained how Somerset Council is managing its finances prudently and responsibly – delivering a unitary council to streamline public services, working in partnership with the NHS, voluntary sector and city, town and parish councils, selling assets and reviewing all areas of spending. However, he warned it will not be enough to close the gap between income and spending on demand-led services.
He ended by asking Mr Gove to take action to ensure adult social care funding is addressed as part of the forthcoming Autumn Statement and Local Government Finance Settlement.
Cllr Revans has also written to all Somerset’s MPs to highlight the emergency and ask for their support by lobbying government on behalf of all residents in their constituencies.
Meanwhile Cllr Dean Ruddle, Somerset Council’s Lead Member for Adult Social Care, recently wrote to Helen Whately, the Minister of State for the Department of Health and Social Care to explain how numerous external factors have contributed to the soaring costs of adult social care.
You can read both letters below:
- Helen Whately – Funding letter to Minister
- Letter to Michael Gove regarding Somerset Council financial emergency