Social care faces £2.1bn funding gap, says charity

9 May 17

Social care is facing a £2.1bn funding gap by 2019/20 to meet the growing need, a charity has warned in a general election briefing.

The Health Foundation also found, in the document published on Friday, 400,000 fewer people were receiving care in 2012/13 than in 2009/10.

As spending on health care per person in England is falling in real terms by 0.2% in 2018/19 and by a further 0.2% in 2019/20, the health service is entering the “toughest years of funding for the English NHS”, the foundation pointed out.

Warnings over insufficient resources come despite a government pledge to provide £2bn extra funds for social care over the next three years – as announced by Philip Hammond in the spring Budget.

The NHS and social care funding – three unavoidable challenges briefing follows a study from the Institute for Fiscal Studies which highlighted that spending on health care was increasing at its slowest rate since 1950s.

Anita Charlesworth, director of research and economics at the Health Foundation, said austerity policies since 2010 have left the health and care sector in an “increasingly perilous financial state”.

“Government funding plans are not keeping pace with demand and cost, and, as a result, these vital services are showing increasing signs of serious strain,” she warned.

Capital budgets are being raided, preventing the NHS from investing in long-term plans just so it can pay for day-to-day running costs, she added.

Much more needed to be invested in social care and an independent financial body for the NHS needed to be establishing, the briefing suggested.

“With the UK economy expected to grow at an average rate of 2.4% a year (when accounting for inflation), the budget for the NHS in England would need to increase by at least £33bn to maintain share of GDP to around £160bn in 2031/32 in today’s prices,” it added.

In 2015/16 local authorities in England spent £16.8bn on social care for adults, which is equivalent to 14% of the health care budget.

At 65, one in ten older people now face “catastrophic” lifetime costs of over £100,000 for their social care needs, the Health Foundation concluded.

Over the weekend the Lib Dems announced over the weekend that they would invest an extra £6bn in the NHS through a 1p rise on all rates of income tax.

Earlier this year a CIPFA study found nine out of ten English councils was planning to increase council tax to pay for adult social care.

The IFS published research in April showing that one in ten councils in England had slashed adult social care by 25% between 2009/10 and 2013/14.

The Communities and Local Government committee has called for an urgent review of social care funding.

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