Local government secretary Sajid Javid has found an additional £166m to ease spending pressures in social care and rural areas in the final 2018/19 settlement.
Mr Javid’s written ministerial statement today announced £150m for the adult social care support grant in 2018/19, which councils had been told would not be available in the next financial year.
The cash will be allocated according ‘relative needs,’ with the expectation that it will be used to boost plans to support sustainable care markets.
Mr Javid’s statement read: ‘This will be taken from anticipated underspend in existing [Whitehall] departmental budgets and will not affect existing revenue commitments made to local government.’
The only other significant change since the provisional settlement is an extra £16m more for the £31m rural services delivery grant.
Mr Javid added: ‘I am committed to ensuring the needs of rural areas are met and recognise the particular costs of providing services in sparse rural areas.’
'The additional one-off social care funding announced today is a temporary measure and needs to be compared against an annual social care funding gap of £2.3bn by 2020,' warned Lord Porter, chairman of the Local Government Association.
He added: 'More than half of councils will have less income in 2018/19 following an error by the Valuation Office Agency. Councils should not be penalised for this error and we continue to call on the Treasury to use the central share of business rates to ensure that no council receives less than what they have been planning for in 2018/19 following the allocations published in the provisional settlement in December.'
Chairman of the County Councils’ Network (CCN), Cllr Paul Carter, said: ‘The announcement of funding for upper-tier authorities and rural districts shows that CCN has secured additional resource for councils of all types.
‘We welcome the Government listening to our case and providing local government with much-needed extra resource to go towards meeting the rising costs in social care, particularly in counties, which have unique pressures as they are home to the largest and fastest growing elderly populations.’
Mr Javid said his final settlement meant that local government would benefit from two years of real-terms increases.