National living wage “will push social care to breaking point”

29 Mar 16

Councils are warning that the introduction of the national living wage this week will push social care services towards “breaking point”.

he Local Government Association said that, while it supported the living wage, the move could destabilise the care provide market and add significant cots into the system.

An earlier estimate by the LGA put the cost of the national living wage to social care, which comes into effect on 1 April, at £330m in 2016/17, but the body is warning the actual costs is likely to be much higher.

It is calling on ministers to bring forward additional funding of £700m from the Better Care Fund to this year in order to ease the pressure on providers and protect services.

Izzy Secombe, the LGA’s community wellbeing spokeswoman, said the 2% council tax precept would not bring in enough funds to plug the funding gap.

“There is a real risk that councils will struggle to cover the increased contract costs to care providers as a result of the national living wage,” she said.

“A lack of funding is already leading to providers pulling out of the publicly funded care market and shifting their attention towards people who are able to fully fund their own care. We know that care home and domiciliary care providers cannot be squeezed much further and we will be organising an urgent summit with them to unite our concerns that a care home crisis is creeping closer to reality and behind calls for urgent additional funding.”

  • Vivienne Russell

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

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