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Two people every day this year could need council help for a learning disability

Two extra people could need help from Surrey County Council every day this year for a learning disability.

By last December, 3,500 people with a learning disability were being supported – a figure that the authority estimates will rise to 3,750 by this April.

A repeat of that five-month rate of increase across the whole of 2017 would see at least 750 more people with a learning disability need council care, taking the total to more than 4,300.

However, Surrey has seen funding for people with a learning disability rolled into its general annual grant, which has been continually slashed, and that prompted leader David Hodge to declare last month that millions of pounds had been “wiped clean off our books”.

Together with rising demand for the likes of care for older people and services for children with special educational needs and disabilities, it has left the council looking at how to bridge a £30 million funding gap next year.

That shortfall comes despite Surrey getting an extra £3m to spend on adult social care for next year unveiled last month (DECEMBER) by Communities Secretary Sajid Javid.

Mel Few, Surrey County Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care, said: “While we’re committed to doing the very best for people with a learning disability, this forecast demonstrates the enormous pressure our finances are under.

“Not only do we face the prospect of needing to help an extra two people every day this year, but demand also continues to rise for the care we provide the elderly and the support we give to pupils with special needs, which means we’ve got to find a way to plug a £30m gap next year.”

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