Anger over Pickles’ social-care comments

London Councils has reacted angrily to communities secretary Eric Pickles’ accusations its figures were exaggerated and hysterical after the lobby group calculated social care was facing a £1.8bn funding gap.

Responding to a question in Parliament, Mr Pickles said the analysis, highlighted last week in LGC, was “overblown and errs a little on the side of hysteria”.

“What we know is that the local government settlement is £6.5bn for supporting people, and so far as care for the elderly is concerned, an extra £2.2bn will come from the NHS,” he added.

But Hugh Grover, London Councils’ director of fair funding, insisted its analysis was “robust” and offered to share the calculations with Mr Pickles.

“Of course, these calculations can only be made on the basis of the information that government has shared with us so far,” he said.

“If they believe it to be incorrect, it would be very helpful if they can become a bit more forthcoming with information and give councils greater clarity over their budgets in these uncertain times.”

London Councils’ calculations were based on the share of formula grant distributed to upper-tier councils on the basis of the Personal Social Services (PSS) relative needs formula – the amount notionally allocated to be spent on social care.

According to the calculations, formula grant distributed on the basis of PSS formula decreases from £10.2bn in 2010-11 to £7.2bn in 2014-15.

When the funding in the spending review was taken into account, total social care funding shrank by £885m in cash terms – a £1.8bn cut including inflation.