Council will not get NI rise for social care for three years

By Richard Whitehouse   |   Local Democracy Reporter   |
Monday 17th January 2022 7:00 am
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CORNWALL Council’s chief finance officer has warned that an increase in National Insurance payments for adult social care will not provide money to the council for at least three years.

Last year the Government announced an increase in NI payments to help provide more funding for social care and help the NHS recover after covid.

However, Cornwall councillors heard this past week that all the money will go to the NHS for the first three years and none to the adult social care department at County Hall.

Tracie Langley, the council’s chief finance officer, said that there was also no guarantee yet that there would be money available for the council’s social care department after that date.

She also said that the council should work with the NHS in Cornwall to try and divert some of the money provided from the extra NI payments into the social care department at the council.

Ms Langley made the comments in response to a question at a meeting of the council’s health and adult social care overview and scrutiny committee.

Councillors wanted to know whether the increased rate of NI would help to cover the rising cost of providing adult social care in Cornwall.

Ms Langley said: “The money that comes from that will go straight to the NHS for the first three years, it will not come to local authorities.

“We should be negotiating with our system colleagues in those first three years to ensure we can benefit from that money.

“We also have to make sure that there are plans for that money to come to us when it is passed down to us in year three.”

Ms Langley said that it was often “difficult” to ensure that money which is meant to help support social care services in Cornwall goes to the council as it is often granted to the NHS to distribute.

The committee heard that the council was looking to invest an additional £45million in social care as part of its budget plans for 2022/23.

However, some councillors said that while they welcomed that funding, there was also a requirement for the service to make savings of around £22m.

Labour councillor Jayne Kirkham said that she was concerned about plans to cut the number of qualified social workers – mainly through not filling vacant posts.

Service director Steve Peddie said that the social worker posts were not from frontline provision but social workers who were employed as managers.

He said that the posts had been removed to “reduce duplication” in the management structure of social care.

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