Care sector calls for talks to tackle funding crisis

9 Dec 15

The health and care sector is demanding urgent Whitehall talks over what it says is a funding crisis despite Chancellor George Osborne authorising council tax increases to pay for provision.

In a letter sent to Osborne, health secretary Jeremy Hunt and local government secretary Greg Clark, the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, the NHS Confederation, the Care Provider Alliance and the Care and Support Alliance, said last month’s Spending Review settlement was not sufficient.

The 25 November statement permitted councils to increase council tax by 2% specifically to fund adult social care. However, today’s letter notes that those areas of the country where people are more reliant on state-funded care are those that will raise the least by putting up council tax.

They warn that without collective action to address funding shortfalls increasing numbers of older and disable people will be left without the support they need, while failures of domiciliary, residential and nursing home providers will accelerate, particularly in those areas most reliant on state-funded clients.

“Ultimately the package put forward for social care will not enable us to fill the current gap in funding, cover additional costs associated with the introduction of the National Living Wage, nor fully meet future growth in demand due to our ageing population,” the letter stated.

It added that some of the additional resources were “back-loaded”, including the £1.5bn expansion of the Better Care Fund, which is not expected until the end of the Parliament.

“This has significant implications in terms of the vital support needed by older and disabled people and their carers. And it also puts the delivery of the NHS Five Year Forward View – and implementation of the Care Act – at risk.”

Specifically, the letter calls for the government to set out where the £6bn earmarked for implementation of the cap on care costs would be spent following the four-year delay of the plan. It also called for the government to ensure the proposed 2% council tax precept delivers the necessary funds and what else can be done to help councils address the shortfall.

The letter tells Osborne: “As you made clear in your speech to Parliament, ‘a civilised and prosperous society like our should support its most vulnerable and elderly citizens’.

“This is a goal that we all share and we are keen to work with you and your colleagues to ensure that this becomes a reality.”

  • Vivienne Russell

    Vivienne Russell is managing editor of Public Finance magazine and publicfinance.co.uk

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