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Council to seek judicial review over “£3m shortfall” in Care Act funding

West Berkshire Council has launched a judicial review challenge against the Government over a claimed £3m shortfall in funding for meeting the demands of the Care Act.

The local authority accused the Government of “reneging on its promise” to fully fund the Act, which comes into force next week (1 April).

In a statement West Berkshire said: “The Care Act…. sets out an expectation for West Berkshire Council to provide levels of social care to substantially more people than it is currently able to.

“The Government had previously said that it would fully fund the demands the Care Act placed on councils, but has now said that the necessary money for West Berkshire will not be forthcoming.

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The local authority argued that this would leave it with a funding gap of £3m. “The council has had to set its budget for the new financial year which has meant using reserves to bridge the gap. These have to be replenished over the next 12 months, which will put further pressure on local services.

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West Berkshire said its judicial review challenge would argue that the Government process “which resulted in the inadequate funding”, was unlawful.

The council added that it had been placed "in an intolerable financial situation", with the Government having progressively reduced the annual grant for public services, and effectively capped the extra amount that could be raised from council tax.

"Now, their failure to fund the Care Act leaves the council with no option but to challenge the Government's decision," it said.

The legal claim was issued on 16 March.

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