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Councils warn care costs have soared by 1bn

Town hall bosses have released new figures, which show that the coronavirus is adding almost £1bn to care costs across England.

The figures released by the County Councils Network (CCN) show that local authorities estimate they will need to provide care and nursing home providers with an additional £322m to meet escalating costs, with a further £259m needed to meet increased demand for services and to ensure that the NHS has sufficient spare beds for virus victims.

County councils are also planning to spend an additional £71m recruiting carers to meet demand, £144m has been spent on activity such as procuring personal protection equipment (PPE).

Alongside this, an additional £138m has been allocated to support the most vulnerable children during the crisis.

These extra care costs amount to £937m.

Earlier this month, ministers announced they would make money available to help councils fund higher service costs created by coronavirus.

But despite this, county leaders fear the share of additional funding for social care could be lower than when the previous funding was announced at the beginning of April if the way funding is distributed is dramatically altered.

They also fear their capacity to assist in key areas such as ‘shielding’ the most vulnerable, care home testing, and meeting shortfalls in PPE supplies locally could be drastically reduced.

‘The government has stated that the £1.6bn for councils, announced last week, has been provided to respond to the additional service costs faced by local authorities,’ said CCN chairman, Cllr David Williams.

‘It is clear from the evidence provided to ministers that social care is adding the most strain to council budgets as we battle the spread of the disease locally.

‘If the government changes the distribution of emergency funding it will disproportionately and unfairly impact those councils responsible for adult and children’s social care, reducing the funding available for these vital care services,’ added Cllr Williams.

‘It is inevitable that government will need to provide a comprehensive package of measures to compensate councils for billions in potential lost income.

‘This will require additional resources, but this should be a targeted and tailored response outside of the £1.6bn allocation which is to address additional costs from the virus, and particularly those in life-saving care services and initiatives that will reduce the strain on the NHS.’

Photo Credit – Pixabay

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