Handouts ‘not a sustainable solution’ to Sunderland winter pressures

Sunderland Civic Centre.
Sunderland Civic Centre.
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Government cash boosts are not a ‘sustainable solution’ to winter pressures in Sunderland, according to council bosses.

The Department of Health and Social Care has allocated more than £1.5million to the city to help it cope in the coming months.

But the handout has been criticised for failing to tackle the real funding problems facing councils.

Coun Geoff Walker, cabinet member for health and social care, said: “The city council welcomes the recent announcement of additional funding of £1.5million.

“However, this falls short of addressing the inherent budget pressures being experienced in adult social care, both nationally and locally.

“The allocation of one-off monies by the Government to address what are ongoing cost pressures is not a sustainable solution in the longer term.

“Sunderland, along with other councils, is facing considerable cost pressures because of budget cuts and rising demand for all types of social care – it would urge the Government to address this.”

The adult social care winter funding, which was announced at the beginning of October, is a pot of £240million intended to help local authorities in England through one of their most demanding periods of the year.

From this, £1,567,778 has been earmarked for Sunderland – the second biggest allocation of any of the other 12 North East local authorities.

According to the government, the cash is supposed to help pay for:

* home care packages to help patients get out of hospital quicker reablement packages to support workers helping patients with everyday tasks and mobility

* home adaptations, such as adapting a shower room for a patient with limited movement

North East councils by adult social care winter funding allocation:

County Durham: £2,822,376

Sunderland: £1,567,778

Northumberland: £1,521,452

Newcastle: £1,500,831

Gateshead: £1,133,285

North Tyneside: £1,031,077

South Tyneside: £915,260

Stockton-on-Tees: £845, 239

Middlesbrough: £757,937

Redcar and Cleveland: £720,225

Darlington: £501,172

Hartlepool: £501,123

James Harrison, Local Democracy Reporting Service