Thursday 22 February 2024
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£600m bonus for councils: County Council gets £7m to support social care

Nottinghamshire’s share of half a billion pounds from government is unlikely to make much of a difference to the county council’s financial forecasts, a meeting on authority finances heard.

The government yesterday announced an extra £600m for upper tier authorities, following a letter from dozens of MPs demanding more cash.

Nottinghamshire County Council is expected to receive around £7m, which will be used to support social care over the next financial year.

Councillors welcomed the funding during a budget update in the Overview Committee on Thursday (January 25) – although some said more was needed.

Nigel Stevenson, the council’s director of finance, said: “We will have to wait for the detail to see exactly what impact it will have.

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“We expect the £500m to be distributed using the Adult Social Care formula, meaning we would receive another £7m.

“But I would have to advise that you treat it as temporary in nature as there’s no detail where it’s coming from, and there’s also a General Election coming up.

“It will close a budget gap in 2024/25 and widen the gap following year, so it doesn’t make an overall difference on the gap in the Medium Term Financial Plan.”

Nottinghamshire County Council has a £55m budget gap over the next three financial years, which it is legally required to close.

Mansfield MP Ben Bradley (also the leader of the county council) was the lead signatory on the letter from the County Councils Network, which warned they would have to cut services without greater funding.

They said that higher inflation and greater demand meant councils which provide social care services face a £650m gap this year and £4bn over the next three years.

Councillor Richard Jackson (Con), the portfolio holder for finance, welcomed the funding, saying: “Nottinghamshire County Council is already a very well-run local authority, but like all councils we have been facing significant financial pressures.

“Our share of this funding will ease those pressures and give us the opportunity to invest more in helping the most vulnerable people in our county, setting them on course to happier, healthier and more independent lives.”

However, it was described as a “drop in the ocean” by Labour leader Councillor Kate Foale, who said people were already suffering from cuts.

Councillor Glynn Gilfoyle (Lab) said: “We welcome any additional money, but it all seems a bit theatrical – MPs write a letter and the next day the government make an announcement?

“If that’s all takes, write another letter and tell them we’re still short.”

The 2024/25 budget will be set by Cabinet and full council in February.

•  Government gives councils £600 million in support funds

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