The Leader of Essex County Council welcomed yesterday’s Budget which has pledged more funding for adult social care and new measures which will boost the county’s economy.
Cllr David Finch said Chancellor Philip Hammond’s £2 billion funding boost for adult social care over three years – £1bn coming in 2017/18 – will help address Essex’s social care shortfall.
But, more importantly, the announcement of a Social Care Green Paper could lead to the whole-system reform the Council has been calling for.
He said: “We’ve lobbied hard for social care reform over the years, so it’s heartening that the Government has listened and has committed to a Green Paper.
“This will allow councils and the NHS to plan for the long-term and shift the focus of our spending to preventative measures, which will reduce the need for long term care and ensure we are equipped to look after our most vulnerable people.
“However, we need innovations like the social care ISA which we have championed to be part of the solution going forward.
“Essex businesses will benefit from the measures to soften the burden of rate reform for small businesses and extra help for our pubs, which are the lifeblood of so many communities.
“Our share of an extra £16m for 5G and £500m for Superfast broadband will boost connectivity in the county and help realise our ambition to become a digital leader and drive prosperity, building on our already successful work to enable residents and businesses to access high-speed broadband.
“The proposed new T levels, sitting alongside A levels, will help us to ensure our school leavers have the skills our businesses need to thrive.
All of this will help Essex attract, retain and grow the businesses that will help the county become the fastest growing economy outside of London.”
Cllr Finch also welcomed the Chancellor’s announcement of extra cash for new free schools, although Essex will have to wait to hear exactly what that means in terms of funding.
He said the Council expected to receive confirmation soon that plans for a new Junction 7a on the M11 would form part of the roads and congestion investment announced by Mr Hammond.
“Keeping Essex moving is a priority so this funding, along with work on the A12, A120 and the Fairglen Interchange will ensure our county doesn’t grind to a halt,” he added.