A ‘perfect storm’ of financial pressures and rising numbers of children needing support are putting more local authorities at risk of bankruptcy, council leaders have warned.
Ahead of the Autumn Statement on Wednesday, the Local Government Association (LGA) has joined with charities and other organisations in calling on the Chancellor to provide the funding children’s social care ‘desperately needs…before it is pushed to the brink’.
Separately, an analysis by SIGOMA, an organisation representing 47 urban councils in the northern, midlands and south-coast regions of England, has also found that each of their members spend on average 29% of their core spending power on children’s services compared to just 15% in 2011/12.
Across England’s upper tier councils, the average is now 27% – increasing from 14% from 2011/12.
Chair of SIGOMA, Cllr Sir Stephen Houghton, warned that the ‘significant rise’ in children’s services spend is causing more and more councils to be at risk of issuing section 114s.
A recent SIGOMA poll found that 10% of members were considering issuing an S114 this year, while close to 20% said they were considering it in the next year.
Cllr Houghton said: ‘The Autumn Statement is one of the final opportunities to give our members the support they need for the next year, and we urge the Chancellor not to miss this opportunity by providing additional funding for children's services.’
Cllr Shaun Davies, chair of the LGA said: ‘Councils are doing everything they can to provide the vital care and support our vulnerable children need and deserve.
‘However, there is a real risk that services could be pushed to the brink, unless the Chancellor acts in the Autumn Statement and delivers a lifeline of financial support for children’s social care.’
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