According to BBC research, released this week, some adults with learning disabilities are paying thousands of pounds extra a year for care.
In half of 83 areas that responded to a BBC request, bills across all users have risen at least 10% over two years.
Research concluded that there was a 13% increase in how much disabled and frail people were asked to contribute, in two years. In total, 83 councils responded to the BBC request for information (151 were asked). This is equivalent to £500 rise per person with learning disabilities, in 22 of those councils. (Source: BBC Freedom of Information requests, comparing 2018/19 with 2020/21.)
Cath Roff, Director of Adult Social Care Services Leeds City Council, told the BBC Today programme, ‘It is not what local authorities would choose to do but, increasingly, we are just running out of options. We need to stay solvent; we want to continue to provide services and levelling charges is just one way of doing that.’
Directors of council care services blame years of Government funding cuts. The Government has said that extra money has been put in to support the adult social care system and that details of long-awaited reform will be published ‘soon’.
Responding to media reports about adult social care reform, ADASS President, Stephen Chandler said, ‘After 25 years of broken promises by governments to reform our social care system, half-measures will not be acceptable to the millions of us who need care and support to lead lives of the quality that everyone should be able to expect.
‘While a cap on lifetime liability for the costs of care would be a welcome part of a reform package for some older people, in some parts of the country, it would do little or nothing for those of working age who have disabilities or other care needs, or for unpaid carers. For a cost of at least £3bn it would create not a single extra hour of care for people in their own homes.
‘Directors of social services say their biggest worry is meeting the needs of young adults, which accounts for more than half of all social care spending by local councils. Our survey this week showed that unprecedented numbers of people of all ages – almost 75,000 – are waiting for assessment of their needs or for agreed support to start. Any reform package must include an immediate injection of significant new funding to end delays and stabilise the system, a clear and costed 10-year transformational plan for social care and a workforce strategy that provides career paths and greatly improved pay and conditions for our 1.5 million care workers. We are calling for a minimum social care wage of £10.90 an hour.’
Richard Kramer, Chief Executive of national disability charity Sense, said, ‘Many disabled adults are having to pay significantly more towards their care than they did two years ago. The pandemic has increased the demand for social care and pressures on a system that is already in crisis.
‘National long-term funding and reforms are urgently needed to ensure disabled people are no longer forgotten. Disabled people and their families should not be required to make up for the lack of funding in order to receive the right care and support. The social care system must be affordable and work for those who need it.
‘For years, the Government has promised a solution to the social care crisis, and now the problem must urgently be tackled. The current situation is unsustainable and we need a long-term national commitment to tackling the inequalities that disabled people face.’
Visit the ADASS website to access the Learning Disabilities Network.
The Secretary of Health and Social Care, Sajid Javid, issued a wellbeing message to the care workforce this week and signposted to support resources.