Counties call for ‘fully costed’ social care cap

27 Jul 18

A cap on social care must be fully costed to avoid pushing councils closer to “the brink of collapse”, county council leaders have said.

Social care must also remain a local service and must not be merged with the NHS, according to a County Councils Network report published today.

Ahead of the government’s social care green paper to be published in the Autumn, CCN has backed the idea of a cap on care.

While more people would have access to care, a lower cap would cost councils more.

It estimates that a £50,000 cap per individual would cost authorities £961m a year –double that of the £72,000 cap put forward by the government in 2014.

David Williams, CCN spokesman for health and social care and leader of Hertfordshire County Council, said: “We are backing a cap on care cost contributions – but this must be fully costed for local authorities, otherwise it will have catastrophic consequences as it will push under-pressure social care services to the brink of collapse.”

He added: “Above all, social care must continue to stay a local service and ministers should not be swayed by overly simplistic arguments to combine all, or elements of, social care within the NHS.”

The report argued that councils enjoy democratic accountability and strong links to other service areas like housing, and have a proven track record of financial prudence and commissioning. 

A survey by CCN, which represents all 27 county councils and 9 unitary authorities in England, found that county social care cabinet members and directors said increased national taxation should be part of the financial solution for services.

The poll found overwhelming support among respondents for increased national insurance contributions and increases in income tax.

The CCN report said that counties face an “unprecedented” rise in residents aged over 85 – an increase of 155% by 2039.

CCN said this will increase pressure on care services, but counties are already facing a funding gap of £1.6bn in social care by 2020–21. The average county authority now spends 45% of its entire budget on adult social care.

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