Philip Hammond has used his Budget to announce an additional £650m to tide social care over until the comprehensive spending review.
The money for 2019-20 – covered by HSJ sister title LGC last week – is augmented by a further £55m for the disabled facilities grant and £84m over five years to boost innovation in children’s services.
In addition, councils will receive a £420m fund to repair potholes and undertake other road repairs.
While £240m of the care funding will be reserved for adult social care it is believed councils will have some flexibility over whether the remaining £410m can be used to support adult or children’s social care.
In his speech Mr Hammond said: “Local government has made a significant contribution to repairing the public finances and this Budget ensures local councils have more resources to deliver high quality public services.”
He said he that while the social care green paper would be published “shortly”… “I recognise the immediate pressures local authorities face in respect of social care.”
The Treasury’s red book states of the social care funding: “Where necessary, local councils should use this funding to ensure that adult social care pressures do not create additional demand on the NHS. Local councils can also use it to improve their social care offer for older people, people with disabilities and children.”
Senior King’s Fund fellow Richard Humphries tweeted that the extra care money was insufficient to fill a funding gap estimated as amounting to at least £1.5bn next year.
Nuffield Trust Chief Economist John Appleby said: “While more money going into social care will be welcome, it is another short term fix to a system nobody seriously disputes is fundamentally broken.”
County Councils Network chair Councillor Paul Carter said: “The funding announced will help protect social care services, help meet the rising demand for care, and support fixing potholes.”
The Budget red book said the children’s services innovation fund is intended to “help more children to stay at home safely with their families” and builds upon programmes previously undertaken in Hertfordshire, Leeds and North Yorkshire.