CASH-STRAPPED councils are welcoming the news £1.5billion will be pumped into social care - but scepticism over the details remain.

Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sajid Javid, announced yesterday (September 4) local councils would have access to new funding from next year.

Leader of Somerset County Council, David Fothergill, has welcomed the spending review announcements, but stresses the importance of keeping a longer-tern solutions on the agenda.

He said: “Extra money to ease immediate pressures is great and vindicates the work we and others have done to put social care at the top of the agenda.

“But I was just as interested in the repeated commitment to the reform that’s needed to make sure social care is sustainable for years to come.

“Whatever happens in Westminster in the coming weeks, cross-party agreement on long-term reform for social care funding has to be a priority and I would urge people to sign our petition calling for just that.”

Mr Javid also set out a cash injection for the NHS and expanded on previous announcements, including capital funding to upgrade 20 hospitals.

He told the Commons: "The spending round is delivering on the people's priorities and there is no higher priority than the NHS.

"Last year, we increased NHS spending by an extra £34bn a year by 2023/ we are reaffirming our commitment to the NHS with a £6.2bn increase in NHS funding next year.

"We are investing more in training and professional development for our doctors and nurses and over £2bn of new capital funding, starting with an upgrade of 20 hospitals this year, and £250m for groundbreaking new artificial intelligence technologies to help solve some of healthcare's biggest challenges today like easier cancer detection, discovering new treatments and relieving the workload of doctors and nurses."

Turning to social care, he said Prime Minister Boris Johnson "has committed to a clear plan to fix social care and give every older person the dignity and security that they deserve".

He continued: "I can announce today that councils will have access to new funding of £1.5bn for social care next year alongside the largest increase in local government spending power since 2010 and, on top of the existing £2.5bn of social care grants, that's a solid foundation to protect the stability of the system next year and a down payment on the more fundamental reforms the Prime Minister will set out in due course."

Last month Councillor Fothergill launched an online Stand Up For Care petition calling for cross-party discussions to end the national social care funding shortfall.

The spending review announcements mean Somerset will receive a share of an extra £1bn nationally for adults and children’s social care, though how much this means isn’t known at this stage.

Subject to government consultation, councils may also be given the option of adding an extra 2 per cent to Council Tax for adult social care – for Somerset this would mean an additional £5m if taken forward. And the Chancellor confirmed that existing grants will continue into the next financial year.

The council's petition is hosted on the www.petition.parliament.ukwebsite or can be found by following The petition has the support of all the county council’s political party leaders.

Nationally, Government funding for social care has not kept pace with the rising demand for care as the population ages. The Local Government Association estimates that by 2025 the national adult social care funding gap will be around £3.5billion. In Somerset, 38 per cent of Somerset’s net budget is spent on adult social, care, that’s £126m.

The BBC Panorama documentaries broadcast earlier this year – filmed over ten months with Somerset County Council – raised the profile of care funding pressures.

Any British Citizens or UK residents can sign the petition and it’s hoped that people from across the country will use it to make their voices heard. 10,000 signatures triggers a formal response from the Government while 100,000 would mean it is formally considered for a debate.