AN ESTIMATED £10 million could be coming to Dorset to help fund social care services.

It comes after Chancellor Sajid Javid announced a spending round to increase funding for council-run services. These include adult social care and services for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

Councils will be able to access £1.5bn new funding for social care, and an additional £700m to support SEND, Mr Javid said.

He also outlined plans to increase school spending by £7.1bn by 2022-23 and £54m of additional funding to reduce homelessness and rough sleeping.

Dorset Council will not find out its allocation until December. However, council finance officers estimate that the funding could be as much as £10m for the next financial year. This is against current funding levels of £295m.

Leader of Dorset Council, Cllr Spencer Flower, said: “I am pleased to see that the government has recognised the need to rebalance the past cuts in funding for essential local government services. I wrote to Chancellor Sajid Javid on August 20with a plea for fairer funding for Dorset.

“We are on track to achieve a £10m reduction in our salary bill resulting from de-duplication of roles. And we will make further significant budget savings next year and in ongoing years through service redesign and economies of scale.

“Despite this, Dorset Council still faces a challenging budget position due to growing demand for children’s services (both children in care and SEND services) and adult social care, both of which we have a statutory duty to provide. This growing demand is due to demographic changes such as our ageing population and more children being diagnosed with special educational needs. Due to these pressures, we find ourselves forecasting a budget overspend of £12.6m for this financial year, which we are working hard to address. This is despite an increase in our 2019/20 budget provision in both adults and children’s services of about £10m.”

Cllr Flower added: “Councils have extremely limited tools at their disposal to deal with such demographic and demand pressures. With the lack of funding provided by government over recent years, we have to rely on income from council tax.

“I also want to be absolutely clear: the financial situation for local government in Dorset would be significantly worse if we had not gone ahead with local government reorganisation and the creation of Dorset Council."