Government failure to address Rotherham children’s services funding crisis in local government settlement.
Sarah Champion, MP for Rotherham, has criticised the Government for failing to address funding shortfalls in the annual local government funding settlements, announced in the Commons on Thursday 13th December 2018.
In a question to James Brokenshire, the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, Sarah Champion highlighted how Government funding will not address the need for additional resource for frontline services to maintain current service standards.
Significant strain has been placed on Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council’s (RMBC) ability to deliver services in the wake of funding cuts and increased demands. RMBC has had to make cuts and savings of £170 million since 2010 and will need to save £30 million more in the next two years. The Council has simultaneously needed to manage increased demand, with 40% more looked after children this year than expected and budgeted for. 70 of those children are linked to the National Crime Agency’s Operation Stovewood into historic sexual abuse in the Borough.
During the statement, the Secretary of State restated a commitment made in the Autumn Budget of £84 million for the Department for Education’s children’s social care innovation programme which will only reach a small number of local authorities over a five year period. There was no commitment to address the estimated £3 billion funding gap by 2025, required to maintain services at the current level, according to the Local Government Association.
Commenting, Sarah Champion said:
“Since being elected, I have tried to make the Government recognise that their policy of cutting funding to Rotherham Council is having dire consequences on the town. Today is just another example of their refusing to listen and putting the most vulnerable at risk. This is quite simply reckless and playing with peoples lives.”