GOVERNMENT reforms to adult social care plans could cost Oxfordshire taxpayers millions of pounds, warns council.

In September last year, the Government announced reforms to be implemented over the next 18 months that include changes to the rules that oversee the costs individuals pay towards their own care and fees paid to their providers.

However, Oxfordshire County Council has warned that these changes will create “serious financial difficulties” for the council unless the Government properly funds the costs.

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It said the reforms could “potentially double” the number of people eligible for financial support from the council as well as increase the rates councils pay to care providers.

Oxford Mail: Oxfordshire County CouncilOxfordshire County Council

The reforms include a new adult social “care cap” which limits the amount individuals have to pay to £86,000.

There will also be changes to how financial assessments are used to work out if and how much a council will pay towards the cost of someone’s care.

Another change is a move towards a fixed cost for care and ensuring market sustainability. The council warns that this will “likely see a significant increase” in the rates councils pay to providers.

It adds that the plans may “also see a significant increase in the care fees paid by councils where necessary” to make the care market sustainable.

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Oxford Mail: Council warms changes will create “serious financial difficulties”Council warms changes will create “serious financial difficulties”

A report from County Councils Network, a Government body which represents local authorities, estimates that over nine years the reforms could cost council’s a minimum of £10 billion more than currently estimated.

The report adds that it could create a further workforce crisis in social care with over 5,000 extra staff being required to carry out extra care and financial assessments.

The council has an annual budget of £212 million for adult social care which represents 40 per cent of its overall budget. It is responsible for funding care for more than 6,200 adults.

Councillor Tim Bearder, the council’s cabinet member for adult social services said: “We want to continue to provide an excellent service for Oxfordshire…but there is very real concern being raised by councils across England that the government has significantly underestimated the costs of implementing their reforms.

“This is the biggest financial risk that we and our fellow councils currently face and runs into many millions of pounds each year.”

Councillor Calum Miller, the council’s cabinet member for finance, added: “Unless government funds its reforms fully, it is passing the buck to local taxpayers.

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“Like many councils, Oxfordshire faces real financial constraints. If we have to put millions into adult social care, that means millions we cannot spend on other priorities like maintaining roads, keeping libraries open or supporting vulnerable young people.”


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This story was written by Gee Harland, she joined the team in 2022 as a senior multimedia reporter.

Gee covers Wallingford and Didcot.

Get in touch with her by emailing:

Follow her on Twitter @Geeharland

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