This partial U-turn by the government over social care funding shows a belated recognition of how wrong the Government were not giving these extra funds last month, as part of the local government finance settlement. East Sussex County Council would have had an earlier opportunity to properly plan how it would use these funds to the best effect.
We must remember that the extra money is spread over three years, and will not come along in one tranche. There will still be a funding gap. Until we know how the extra funds will be used by East Sussex County Council we will not be sure that the problem will be properly addressed even in the short term. We also do not know what strings will be attached to the use of the monies. Until we know these things we will not know how far these funds will go towards addressing the crisis in Adult Social Care.
As a matter of urgency East Sussex will need to develop new services to assist with the timely discharge of patients from hospital. These services cannot just be turned on and off so will take months if not years to develop and settle in.
This sudden turning on of some funds shows that the government does not understand the complexity of the provision of social care. Years of under funding by this government have taken a toll on the care system that will take a long time to repair. Adult Social Care is still to be properly funded and requires proper planning.
With local government facing an overall funding gap, all councils will need to continue to make cutbacks to local services, including social care, over the next few years. Short-term pressures remain and the challenge of finding a long-term solution to the social care crisis is far from over. It shows that Liberal Democrats across the county are right to keep campaigning on the issue. We need a long term solution so that people know that their needs will be met.