Poll finds public support for care funding boost

2 Nov 16

Around two-thirds of people think a greater share of the total health budget should be spent on adult social care services, according to a poll by the Local Government Association.

Currently, 11% of the £129bn health and care budget is spent by councils on adult social care, according to LGA figures, with the rest being given over to health services. However, the Populus poll of 1,785 people for the umbrella group found 62% of people think councils should spend a higher proportion than this on adult care.

Ahead of the National Children and Adult Services conference in Manchester today, LGA senior vice chair Nick Forbes said the poll shows the public supports greater adult social care funding, along with councils, care providers and the NHS.

“We need to shift perceptions and make adult social care just as important in the public eye and within government as the NHS. This is why we are calling for a national movement to raise awareness of what social care is and why it matters,” he stated.

The poll showed that three-quarters of respondents significantly underestimate the amount councils are spending on adult social care. Also, 60% of people thought adult social care received a higher proportion of the total health and care budget than the 11% currently allocated.

According to the LGA, this reveals a need to raise national awareness of the importance of adult social care services. They only way to deal with significant pressures facing adult social care and the NHS is to invest more in services that help keep people out of hospital, it stated.  

At present, councils with social care responsibilities spend 35% of their budgets on care, and are increasingly needing to divert funds from other councils services to make up shortfalls.

Forbes urged the government to use the Autumn Statement to provide councils greater funding in this area.

This call was echoed by Richard Humphries, assistant director of policy at The King’s Fund, who said the government’s top priority in the 23 November Autumn Statement must be to increase social care funding.

“This is a key test of the prime minister's promise of a more equal country that works for everyone,” he added. “There is no more burning injustice in Britain today than older and disabled people being denied the care they need to live with independence and dignity.”

Spending cuts and a failure of successive governments to reform the funding system have left social care in a “perilous state”, he added.

“More than £5bn has been cut from local authority social care budgets over the last five years, which has had a huge impact on older and disabled people, their families and carers.”

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