Fife Council seeks views on social work spending rise in bid to break ‘cycle of deprivation’

Plans to invest a further £3 million in services to support Fife’s most vulnerable people are up for discussion.

Councillors are asking as many residents as possible to get involved and help influence how the council’s £800 million budget is spent.

Almost £200m of this goes to provide social work services. According to Fife Council leader Alex Rowley, tough decisions are needed to ensure the right levels of investment.

”Many of us know someone who’s benefited from support from social work services — a relative who has had a home care service, a friend who has a disabled child or a work colleague who has fallen on hard times.

”We all have an opinion on what should be a priority in this area and what more could be done, so I’d like to hear from as many residents as possible what they think about an extra £3m being invested in social work services.”

Pressure on social work services is increasing dramatically.

Councillors heard that that budget is overspent by over £4m already this financial year, although work is ongoing to balance the books.

Over £2m of this is due to an increasing number of elderly people needing specialist care at home and over £1.5m supporting vulnerable children who need to be looked after outwith the family home.

Mr Rowley added: ”Unfortunately, this situation reflects a national picture across Scotland, with younger children being neglected due to parental substance misuse and domestic violence.

”We’ve already announced investment of £7.8m to help give youngsters a better start in life by reducing inequalities and making sure all children have the same opportunities to reach their full potential.

”One in five of our children live in poverty and there are far too many children on the at risk register in Fife.

”We need to break this cycle of deprivation and target our resources at these areas to help prevent problems before they start.

”It’s also crucial that we help those people who want to live independently in their own homes as they get older.

”As the elderly population continues to grow, the cost of home care packages continues to rise. Again, the challenge for us is how we continue to invest in these vital services with our partners in the NHS.”