More funding needed in Sandwell for social care
A senior Sandwell councillor is calling on the government to provide extra funding for adult and children’s social care saying local councils have reached a critical point.
Cllr Wasim Ali, cabinet member for resources and core services, has written to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sajid Javid MP, saying local authorities can no longer sustain cuts and continue to run services.
He issued his call for extra funding as he presented a report to local cabinet members predicting a £3 million overspend by the end of the financial year.
Saying he expected the authority could deliver a balanced budget by April next year, he added: “However, local government as a whole is at a critical point.
“As a council we have done a great job of managing a £180 million of cuts in central government funding over the last nine years but it can’t go on.
“Demand for our services has continued to increase especially in children’s services and it is time that the government gave us the funding we need to deliver services to the most vulnerable youngsters in our borough.”
His call comes after the council was forced to pump in an an extra £5 million into the Sandwell Children’s Trust in May despite having allocated the service £58 million last year – £13 million more than in 2017-2018.
Since April 2017 the number of youngsters in care increased from 601 to 900 – an increase the government watchdog, Ofsted, described as ‘the highest level ever experienced by the local authority’.
In his letter to Sajid Javid, Cllr Ali warns the cost of providing adult social services alone will take up 50 percent of council tax income by 2035, even if councils impose 4.7 percent increase each year.
The chancellor will announce the government’s spending plans for local councils on Wednesday, September 4.