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Kent County Council handed £4m cash boost to ease adult social care pressures

By Paul Francis

Kent County Council is to get a cash boost of nearly £4 million to ease the pressure on adult care services, the government has announced.

The extra cash comes in the week the county council confirmed that it is to recommend a council tax increase of close to 5% in the face of dwindling government grants.

The extra cash is part of a £150m pot of government money designed to help cash-strapped councils who are facing escalating demand for care services as the elderly population increases.

Kent County Council leader Paul Carter (Con)
Kent County Council leader Paul Carter (Con)

KCC leader Paul Carter, who has repeatedly pressed the government to allocate more cash to councils, met the minister yesterday.

He said: “This funding, secured for counties and more widely local government, has come as a direct result of the well-structured and measured campaign that has been coordinated through my chairmanship of the County Councils Network."

“Clearly this additional resource is welcome and will provide some relief for this coming financial year and it shows that government understands the financial challenges facing counties."

“We look forward to the conclusion of a new funding system for local government that is fair, transparent and evidence-based.We are of course very grateful for the help and support of our MPs in Kent in securing this additional funding.”

Announcing the extra money, housing minister Sajid Javid said: “I recognise the need to prioritise spending on social care services that councils provide to our elderly and vulnerable citizens.

“I am today announcing a further £150m in 2018-19 for an Adult Social Care Support Grant.

"This will be taken from anticipated underspend in existing departmental budgets, and will not affect existing revenue commitments made ‎to local government.

“This will be allocated according to relative needs and we will expect to see councils use it to build on their progress so far in supporting sustainable local care markets.”

KCC is proposing a 4.99% increase in council tax this year, which will mean a £59 hike for Band D homes - the average - taking the sum to £1,237.68, not including tax paid towards local councils, policing and the fire authority.

Since 2010, the council has seen government funding cut by £221m at the same time as it has faced a steadily increasing demand for services, costing it an additional £387m.

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