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Council chief says deal will hit care for most vulnerable people

MEDWAY Council is to receive a six per cent increase in funding from the government next year.

The money is more than expected but Tory chiefs say the settlement is still not enough.

They claim it fails to take account of the rising cost of providing services to vulnerable children and frail adults.

The increase for the following two years is lower, with rises of 4 per cent in 2009/10 and 3.6 per cent for 2010/11.

Next year's government cash fix gives the council £1.9m more than anticipated but still leaves it with a £10m black hole.

That is the differences between the council's estimated cost of providing services and the amount of money it will have to spend.

Plugging the gap through council tax is ruled out because the government has said that it expects councils to keep council tax increases well below five per cent.

This is despite Medway being one of the lowest council tax rates in the country.

The Leader of Medway Council Cllr Rodney Chambers said: "We were anticipating a worse deal from the government and I am pleased that our campaign for a fairer deal for Medway has been heard.

"But in real terms this increase is a drop in the ocean and still leaves us woefully short on what the council needs.

"Medway needs an additional 16 per cent in funding next year to provide services for vulnerable adults and 15 per cent to care for children so clearly the figures do not add up.

"This settlement is for three years and the health warning is that we are getting less for the next two years at a time when we know demand for services is increasing particularly in the area of social care.

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