Councils face £2bn children's services 'funding gap'
Tuesday, October 18, 2016
Rising demand for children's services will create an "unsustainable" funding gap for local authorities, the Local Government Association (LGA) has warned.
The LGA has calculated that over the next three years, annual spending by councils on children's services will be nearly £2bn more than this year.
The association says this "funding gap" can be attributed to rising demand in children's services and falling grants from central government - it claims councils have seen a 60 per cent increase in the number of children requiring child protection plans since 2008.
Councils are spending a total of £11.1bn a year of their overall local government funding on children's social care and education services, the LGA said in its submission to the government's Autumn Statement.
This spend will rise to £11.4bn in 2017/18, £11.7bn in 2018/19 and £12.1bn in 2019/20, creating a cumulative funding gap of £1.9bn for children's services.
The LGA's analysis shows the gap in children's services funding is more than any other local authority service.
The LGA states it is "wrong" for the government to let this "unsustainable pressure" continue.
"Councils work hard to improve public services and create opportunities for all our residents," its response states.
"They do this in a number of ways, such as by supporting school improvement and promoting and protecting the welfare of children and young people.
"However, the demographic pressures on children's services are increasing as is the demand for school places, whilst at the same time the money available to councils through grants has reduced.
"Looking after our children is one of local government's most important statutory duties and councils have sought to protect spending on children's social care where possible."