Budget sets out record spending on elderly care

Over the last few months we’ve been working hard on our budget at the county council which sets out our spending plans for the next five years. And, in my seven years as Leader of the County Council, I have to say without doubt, this has been the toughest challenge yet.

You will have heard me say many times before that local councils are in unprecedented times and continue to face not only the most difficult financial conditions in modern days but huge demands on our social care system as more of our population grows older.

Because of this and to ensure we can support our ageing population we will be allocating a record £300m of funding into caring for the elderly, along with additional support for disabled and vulnerable children.

We recognised the sheer size of the challenge a number of years ago and as a consequence have already made efficiency savings across council services of almost £200m over the last five years. But still more needs to be done to balance the books,  and we may still need to make savings of around £2m every month for the next five years.

Like any household budget, we can’t spend more than we have coming in. But this is not just about spending less. It is about us doing things differently and asking people to do more for themselves, their neighbours and their communities and, yes, pay a little more too to protect those who can’t help themselves who the county council provides care for.

We know that nobody really likes to pay more tax, and reluctantly  we are going to have to increase council tax, most of which will be spent on social care.  Despite any increase, we will still have one of the lowest county council taxes in the country.  And as we will all have someone close to us who needs care in their old age, this will make sure we can provide that care.

We still have a great story to tell here in Staffordshire. We continue to attract major investment creating more better paid jobs and with the lowest records of unemployment in the region, I have no doubt that Staffordshire will continue to thrive and grow and be a great place to live and work.

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