GOVERNMENT should make more cash available in the spring Budget to help councils with rising adult social care costs.

It should also start cross-party talks immediately to legislate for medium and long-term options and solutions to an issue which is putting huge pressure on local authority budgets, says a Labour councillor in a motion put before the full meeting of Calderdale Council when it meets from 6pm at Halifax Town Hall next Wednesday.

Coun Mike Barnes (Lab, Skircoat) wants councillors to ask Leader of the Council Coun Tim Swift (Lab, Town) to call on Government to make an “immediate payment” in the budget and this should take into account real living wage costs for staff as part of the costs.

He also wants them to urge Coun Swift to call on Government to address the issue in the medium and long term via the necessary legislation.

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Coun Barnes says the measures would give funding certainty that covers all adults regardless of age.

Cabinet recently heard that more than £4 million of estimated overspends Calderdale is trying to reduce in the financial months of the current council year are down to social care costs for vulnerable adults and children, with the care package costs for adults the lion’s share of that amount.

These are statutory duties for councils – they have to provide these legally and want to protect the most vulnerable members of society – but they cannot control them, for example, demand can suddenly rise.

Coun Barnes says in his motion that the council should note “the years of unbroken promises by successive Conservative Governments to provide sufficient and sustainable funding for adult social care.”

New Conservative Group Leader Coun Steven Leigh (Con, Ryburn) recently pointed out at Cabinet when budgets were being debated that the Government had provided a further £1 billion to councils for social costs.

Council officers estimate Calderdale will get around £3.8 million from this fund and the budget proposals tabled by Coun Swift for 2020-21 also include an additional ring-fenced increase in Council Tax of two per cent for adult social care, which Government is allowing councils to levy.

This is expected to bring in around an additional £1.9 million for Calderdale.

The ring-fenced increase will be put on Council Tax bills in addition to a regular 1.9 per cent rise, if Cabinet’s budget proposals are ultimately approved next month.