RACHEL Reeves has set out Labour’s plan to tackle two of the biggest challenges facing councils in Cheshire.

The cost of adult social care is putting an 'unsustainable burden' on local authorities, threatening vital services for vulnerable residents.

While visiting the new Mid Cheshire constituency on Thursday (May 30), Shadow Chancellor Ms Reeves promised new financial settlements to help councils plan for the future.

She said: “We have committed to giving longer-term settlements to local authorities because at the moment, local authorities don’t know from one year to the next what financial settlement they are going to receive.

“So we have made that commitment to provide longer-term settlements so that councils can better plan their finances for the future.

“But I recognise that after 14 years of cuts under the Conservative government, many local authorities of all political persuasions are facing difficulties.”

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Northwich Guardian: Rachel Reeves visited Cheshire on Thursday (May 31)Rachel Reeves visited Cheshire on Thursday (May 31) (Image: Newsquest)

Earlier this year, Cheshire East Council called on the government to increase funding for social care to help ease the pressure on local authorities.

This comes amid rising demand for services along with the escalating cost of care packages.

Council leader Sam Corcoran: "With demand for adult care services soaring due to an ageing population, an increase in complexity and the after-effects of the pandemic on people’s mental health, we're facing a financial challenge that threatens our ability to provide services to those who need them most."

There is a similar picture in Cheshire West and Chester, where social care has been described as the 'key driver' behind the council’s forecast overspend.

A report published in January stated that the council was forecast to overspend by £8.7 million on adult social care, before mitigations.

Ms Reeves added: “I’m not under any illusions about the scale that I'll face if I become Chancellor of the Exchequer but through growing our economy we can begin to turn around both the state of our public finances but also start to improve living standards for ordinary working families and pensioners as well.”

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Northwich Guardian: Ms Reeves meets Cheshire West and Chester Council leader Louise GittinsMs Reeves meets Cheshire West and Chester Council leader Louise Gittins (Image: Newsquest)

Stood outside Kingsmead Primary School in Northwich, the senior Labour MP also spoke of the difficulties regarding funding for Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) services.

In Cheshire East, the dedicated schools grant high needs budget currently has a deficit of £79.5 million.

That figure is expected to rise to £284.8 million by 2031 with robust mitigation.

Ms Reeves said: “I am aware from my own constituency of the huge pressure that has come under local authority budgets after 14 years of Conservative government.

“I’m under no illusions about the scale of the challenge that I will face if I become Chancellor but we will start to turn things around and that’s why it's so important, for example, that we’ve committed to the additional 6,500 teachers in our state schools because children with the greatest needs often extra support in the classroom.

“So, that commitment to 6,500 additional teachers will make a difference to all children but perhaps particularly to those with special educational needs.”

Ms Reeves added that these teachers will be funded by introducing business rates and VAT on private school fees.