New Government social care funding for West Sussex ‘less than a crumb’

Louise Goldsmith, leader of West Sussex County Council
Louise Goldsmith, leader of West Sussex County Council

The leader of West Sussex County Council has described a £3.3m funding boost to its adults services as ‘half a crumb’.

Louise Goldsmith spoke heatedly at a meeting of the council’s performance and finance select committee on Friday (October 5) about the authority’s share of a £240m pot which was announced at the Conservative Party Conference.

Mrs Goldsmith told members that, while the £240m sounded like a ‘terrific amount’, the adults and health budget for West Sussex alone was more than £194m.

As such, the £3.3m represented a tiny fraction of what would have been useful to the authority.

Mrs Goldsmith said: “Actually what we need as a county council is £240m to do the services which, whatever political colour you are around the table, you would want to do for your residents.

“We have got £3.3m. I am not skipping round – I am really cross about it.

“It’s half a crumb. It’s not even a crumb.”

The funding was announced by health secretary Matt Hancock at the conference in Birmingham.

Mr Hancock said the cash would ease pressure on the NHS this winter by helping councils to pay for housing adaptations and care packages to enable more elderly people to be cared for at home.

While the Local Government Association welcomed ‘an injection of desperately needed funding to help tackle winter pressures’, it warned that short-term bail-outs were not the answer.

Ian Hudspeth, chairman of the LGA’s community wellbeing board, said: “Councils and providers cannot simply turn services on and off as funding ebbs and flows.

“Putting in place the right services and workforce requires forward planning and longer term contracts.

“Adult social care services still face a £3.5 billion funding gap by 2025, just to maintain existing standards of care.

“We must find a long-term funding solution for adult social care and support.”