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Kingston Council raises concerns about lack of adult social care investment in budget

Kingston Council welcomes new measures outlined in the budget aimed at tackling the coronavirus outbreak, but is concerned about the lack of direct investment in adult social care.

During his budget speech on Wednesday, Chancellor Rishi Sunak outlined a range of financial support aimed at tackling the outbreak of coronavirus, including a hardship fund for local authorities in England and additional resources for the NHS for vaccines, staff recruitment and supporting health workers. 

However, there was no mention of extra funding to boost social care resources.

Amongst other pledges made by Mr Sunak was that tens of thousands of businesses across the country will not pay business rates in the coming year - a measure that may apply to some companies with a rateable value of less than £51,000.

Councillor Alison Holt, Portfolio Holder with Responsibility for Finance, said: 

“The council is pleased that more money will be available for local authorities to tackle the coronavirus outbreak - this is something which is affecting all of us and we must all be mindful of each other as we work together to minimise the risk of spreading the condition. 

“However, one startling and noticeable omission from the Chancellor’s budget is adult social care. People in Kingston are feeling the effects of a decade of cuts and to not have significant cash specifically dedicated towards this in the Budget is hugely disappointing.

“We will also be seeking clarification on the business rates policy to ensure central government funds this as we only retain around a quarter of business rates collected locally. We do all we can to make sure businesses in Kingston thrive, but business rates are an important resource for us, given that our central Government funding has been reduced to zero from £66 million since 2010.

“The Government still needs to address the imbalance of the lack of funding provided to local authorities - years of austerity and cuts have left Kingston and other councils with big financial challenges.”

Read more about Kingston Council’s 2020-21 budget, and download the Council’s full budget proposals.