Call for urgent action to address care funding crisis

November 24, 2021

The Local Government Association (LGA) and Association of Adult Social Services (ADASS) have both called on the Government this week to take urgent action to address the care funding crisis.

New analysis by the Local Government Association (LGA) reveals that social care-providing authorities, are now spending more than 60% of their outgoings on essential social care services.

The LGA, which represents councils, says serious questions remain about whether the expected £5.4bn from the new Health and Care Levy over the next three years will be enough to pay for recently announced adult social care reforms.

No funding was made available in the recent Spending Review to address immediate pressures on adult social care, including urgent action which is still needed on care worker pay and on staff recruitment and retention. The LGA says money raised from the new Levy should also be used to support frontline social care, to stave off the worst of the pressures and provide a degree of stability for the short- to medium-term.

The analysis is published as this year’s virtual National Children and Adult Services Conference (NCASC) opens today (Wednesday), featuring Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid, Chief Medical Officer for England Prof Chris Whitty, NHS England Chief Executive Amanda Pritchard and Children’s Minister Will Quince, among other high-profile speakers over three days.

Cllr David Fothergill, Chairman of the LGA’s Community Wellbeing Board, said, ‘Everybody who is in need of social care to live their best life, no matter their age, should be able to receive it. Councils want to do all they can to help people to live the life they want to lead, safe and well, but are now seriously concerned they may be unable to meet their full range of legal duties towards all those who need care and support.

‘Steadily growing demand has seen councils with these responsibilities devoting nearly two-thirds of their total spending to both children’s and adult social care, which is simply unsustainable.

‘There is a very real risk that local residents will feel they are paying twice with an increased social care precept on their council tax bills, on top of the new health and care levy, yet see their experience of social care services deteriorate due to dwindling resources.’

LGA’s chairman added that the Government’s imminent white paper on adult social care should set out precisely how money raised from the levy will address all its reforms, while also diverting more money to the frontline to urgently meet immediate pressures, including on care worker pay and staffing.

ADASS president Stephen Chandler warned today that ‘social care cannot wait any longer’ as he called on the Government to fulfil its promise of a once-in-generation transformation of care and support for older and disabled people.

Speaking at the opening session of the annual National Children and Adult Services Conference, Chandler said the funding so far committed to deliver long-awaited reform of adult social care in England was ‘grossly inadequate.’

Chandler paid tribute to the ‘magnificent’ dedication of unpaid carers, social care workers, volunteers, charities, care providers and council staff and elected members throughout the Covid pandemic.

He expressed disappointment that the Government had not responded to a call by ADASS for a £1,000 bonus for care workers and funded breaks for the most hard-pressed unpaid carers in recognition of their unrelenting commitment.

Both measures would cost less than 1% of what had been spent in fighting the pandemic and would help see the care sector safely through a winter that had all the hallmarks of a ‘perfect storm’, Chandler warned.

Chandler welcomed the greater public awareness of the role of adult social care that had come about as a result of the pandemic. And he thanked the government for embarking upon reforms that the sector had been urging ‘for decades’.

The challenge now was to ‘close the deal on the right reforms to make adult social care fit for the modern era and a proper pillar of our welfare state, almost 75 years after it was given a walk-on part’, Chandler said.

 The NCAS Conference is taking place virtually over three days.

In the latest issue of CMM, Liz Jones, Policy Director of The National Care Forum, outlines the challenges facing the social care sector and shares commentary on the Government response to funding commitments so far.

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