Minister's £1.75 million top-up for Northamptonshire's vulnerable adults 'will have minimum impact', says county council

A Local Government Settlement meant to address the prospect of collapsing councils will barely help Northamptonshire, County Hall has said.

Sajid Javid's extra cash for Northamptonshire has been given a cool response.
Sajid Javid's extra cash for Northamptonshire has been given a cool response.

Council leaders have been unsuccessful in attempts to persuade local government secretary Sajid Javid to loosen the purse strings and give the county appropriate funds for its growing population.

Huge bills for adult social care - as well as fixing the historically troubled children's service - have helped bring it to the brink of bankruptcy.

But an anticipated announcement from Mr Javid about extra money for all councils to deal with adult social care has been given a response that is, at best, lukewarm by council bosses.

A council spokeswoman said: “While we welcome the Government’s acknowledgement of the immense financial pressure local authorities are under in meeting the unprecedented demand for social care services, the adult social care grant announced falls far short of helping us to meet the monumental challenge we’re facing.

“The grant equates to just £1.7m for Northamptonshire and considering our gross budget for adult social care for 2018/19 is £241.5m, this will have minimal impact.

“We will continue our ongoing discussions with the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government about our wider financial issues.”

Money troubles in the adult social care department are mounting up. Budget papers that will go before councillors next Tuesday show officers need to find £3.6m to cover costs relating to sleep-in allowance claims and fees - owed to care workers on duty overnight. It's continuing inability to cope with getting all bed blockers out of Northampton and Kettering General Hospitals on time may also see it docked £5m of the Improved Better Care Fund income.

But the extra cash from the secretary of state equates to a boost of less than one per cent of the county's adult social care budget annually.

It will further frustrate everyone at the new One Angel Square headquarters, especially since Mr Javid's reaction to entreaties for Fair Funding was to send in an independent inspector to examine finances.

He also chose not to be present in Parliament for an urgent question posed to his department by the county's MPs on Tuesday, over the perilous financial state of County Hall. He sent a junior minister who had been in the job a matter of weeks and during proceedings sent out two tweets on unrelated matters.