The local authorities providing children’s social care will face a £3 billion funding gap in the next financial year.
According to research published by UNISON (the public service union), councils may have to cut staff and services, leading to a decline in the quality of social care.
The report reveals that authorities across England, Wales and Scotland are “grappling” with a record budget deficit of £2.996 billion. Without new funding from the Government, they will be forced to make “mammoth savings to balance the books” – this may include cutting essential services, such as teaching assistant numbers, social care, library hours, and community spaces such as parks.
For example, Cheshire West and Chester Council currently face a £26 million deficit despite already scaling back social care services and closing three respite centres. These closures have cut 95 beds and 98 staff roles.
Hackney Council, meanwhile, are expected to be £11 million in the red, despite 48 per cent of children living in poverty.
Commenting on the figures, UNISON General Secretary Christina McAnea said: “These council-funding shortfalls will result in cuts that are likely to hit the poorest in society hardest.
“Children struggling in class won’t be able to get the extra help they need to succeed. Families of the elderly and people needing support will be denied the services on which so many of them rely. Access to much-loved parks, libraries and community facilities are at risk of being taken away.”
UNISON has called on the Government to help local councils to ensure children’s social care services are not compromised.
Please click here to access the report.
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