Fife: Social work overspend sparks a winter crisis

SOCIAL work spending in the Kingdom has already gone into the red by £4.5 million. And the cash crisis has prompted calls for extra funds as a “matter of urgency”.

SNP social work spokesman, Councillor Neale Hanvey said: “For social work to have a projected overspend by week 28 of the financial year is very concerning.

“This is before we know the full impact of a winter where we could see demand rise significantly if the winter weather is bad, or if we have a serious flu outbreak or virus which puts added strain on social work and health staff.”

According to Fife Council, £2m of the overspend was due to an increasing number of elderly people who needed specialist care at home.

Another £1.5m supported vulnerable children who needed to be looked after outwith the family home.

Council leader Cllr Alex Rowley said: “Unfortunately this situation reflects a national picture with younger children being neglected due to parental substance misuse and domestic violence.

Fife Council is currently asking the public whether an extra £3m should be invested in social work next year.

Meanwhile, Cllr Hanvey said action was needed now.

He said:”I hope we get some sensible answers and a sustainable way forward by early next week, or people in Fife will suffer the consequences.”