“We welcome this extra funding today, but the reality is it equates to less than 10% of the budget gap we have had to fill.”

County Hall Sessions House, Maidstone image

The Leader of Kent County Council has welcomed the additional funding announced today by the government to tackle the rising costs in adult social care and children’s services.

Rt Hon Michael Gove MP, Secretary of State for Levelling up Housing & Communities, says the final settlement for 2024/25 will now include £500m of new funding for local authorities with a responsibility for social care, which will be distributed through the Social Care Grant.

The move follows a period of intense campaigning by local authorities, MPs and The County Councils Network (CCN), urging the government to make available emergency funding to alleviate the enormous financial pressures on local authorities as soon as possible.

Responding to today’s announcement the Leader of Kent County Council, Roger Gough, said: “I welcome the additional funding and there is no doubt the extra money will go some way to ease the pressures we are facing. We have worked tirelessly with other councils and MPs to convey to government the unsustainable pressures we face from the rising costs in social care.

“Today’s news and the fact that the government has taken the almost unprecedented decision to increase funding at this late stage before the settlement means that they have listened and understand how serious this is for local authorities across the UK.

“When we started this year’s budget process, we needed to find £118m of savings in order to balance the books. So, although we welcome this extra funding today, the reality is that the figure will equate to less than 10% of the budget gap we have had to fill.

“Although hugely welcomed, this additional funding appears to be a one off, and year-on-year the pressures will continue to grow and will therefore mean that local authority budgets continue to be unsustainable.

“Therefore, further savings are still necessary and there will still be some very difficult decisions around services that residents value over the coming years.”

The extra funding will be put into the final Local Government Finance Settlement, which sets out core funding councils receive in 2024/25. The settlement will be voted on in Parliament in the coming weeks and KCC will find out the exact figure it will receive in early February.