LGA urges tax rises to support adult social care

15 Nov 18

National tax rises are needed to support adult social care, which is now at “breaking point”, the Local Government Association has said.

The government must break away from “short-term incrementalism” and make the case for national tax rises to support care services for future generations in its upcoming green paper, the group urged.

The calls came after the LGA published results of a consultation on how to fund adult social care, which received 540 submissions from the public, service users and other stakeholders.

Polling by BritainThinks, commissioned by the LGA, found that support for an increase in national insurance was the most popular method of funding social care, with 56% of respondents in favour and only 18% opposed.

The LGA projected that the social care funding gap will reach £3.56bn by 2024-25. It said that further funding is needed to plug this gap, on top of the £650m given to adult social care in the budget.

Lack of funding for services has led to a more fragile provider market, growing unmet needs, further strain on informal carers, less investment in prevention and continued pressure on an already overstretched workforce, the group said.

Ian Hudspeth, chair of the LGA’s community wellbeing board, said: “Work to find a long-term funding solution for adult social care has been kicked into the long grass by successive governments for the past two decades and has brought these vital services to breaking point.

“The government must use its upcoming green paper to make a serious case for national tax rises, including either increases to income tax and/or national insurance to provide long-term sustainability for the vital social care services that are central to helping people to live fulfilling, independent lives.”

The LGA also urged the government to reverse cuts of £600m to the public health budget between 2015 and 2020.

Alex Khaldi, partner and head of social care insights at Grant Thornton, said: “A grown-up debate about funding alternatives and tax increases for social care continue to be avoided, but this attitude needs to change.

“Funding options, such as increasing business rates or council tax, fall far short of addressing the social care funding gap. This means that taxes at a national level need to be considered if we are to have a hope of managing the increasing levels of demand.”

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