LGA renews call for green paper on adult social care

July 3, 2019

The Local Government Association (LGA) has given Government a 10-week deadline to publish the green paper on adult social care, so that it is released before parliament goes into recess in September.

July marks one year since the LGA produced its own green paper. Its new publication, One year on – the LGA green paper for adult social care and wellbeing, highlights the continued delays to the Government's green paper on adult social care, and includes contributions and testimonies from those who receive, work in and represent the sector on why adult social care is important. It also includes a timeline of action on the Government's green paper so far.

Organisations including the Care and Support Alliance, Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, The King’s Fund and NHS Confederation are among the contributors, alongside perspectives from people on their experiences of care and from those working on the frontline who go above and beyond for the people they support, despite ever increasing pressures.

The LGA is also renewing its invite to host cross-party talks between national politicians to find consensus on reforms to ensure the future care needs of the ageing population are met. People are living longer, often with more complex needs, and councils want to help provide care which fits around the lives these people want to lead, says LGA.

Adult social care faces a £3.6bn funding gap by 2025 and the sector is hoping that Government will use the Spending Review to secure the immediate future of the social care system until a long-term, sustainable solution is found. New analysis by the LGA shows that the extra funding needed to close this gap is similar to the 3.4% annual real-terms increase given to the NHS in the Long Term Plan. For comparison, the extra £20.5bn a year by 2023/24 in real terms for the NHS is more than the entire annual net spend on adult social care, which was £15.33bn in 2017/18.

Chairman of the LGA’s Community Wellbeing Board, Councillor Ian Hudspeth, said, 'More than 12 months has passed since the Government announced yet another delay to the publication of its social care green paper. Those who rely on vital care and support cannot wait any longer.

'Our adult social care system is creaking under increasing pressure which impacts everyone with care and support needs, preventing them from living their lives to the full. It also has consequences for all those involved in adult social care including providers, the workforce and the NHS.

'Councils are having to make incredibly difficult decisions within tightening budgets and cannot be expected to continue relying on one-off funding injections to keep services going. What is needed is funding certainty for both the immediate and long term.

'That is why the Government needs to commit to meeting our 10-week deadline, before the party conferences start, to finally publish its much-delayed and long-awaited green paper outlining what the future funding options and possible solutions to this crisis are.

'Local government stands ready to host cross-party talks to kick-start this process and make sure we get the answers and certainty we need, so that people can continue to receive essential care and support.'

Niall Dickson, Chief Executive of the NHS Confederation and one of the report's contributors, said, 'This important report proves just how vital it is to get a grip on this monumental challenge. If we don’t, millions of the most vulnerable and their family carers will continue to be neglected or abandoned by services which simply cannot cope.

'A shameful lack of political movement compelled the Local Government Association to publish its own green paper and, a year on, nothing has changed except that conditions continue to deteriorate for those in need and both health and care services come under even more pressure.

'Our research shows 76% of MPs believe there is a crisis in social care – yet still nothing is done.

'Our fervent hope is that the new Prime Minister will recognise this as a priority and deliver the funding and reform needed – and that must start with the Spending Review.'

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