Councils concerned over health and social care levy

The Local Government Association (LGA), which represents councils, said on Monday (21 December) it is not convinced the health and social care levy is sufficient to cover unmet care packages, increase pay, and finance care homes fairly.

The UK government plans to make £5.4 billion (£1.8 billion per year) available for the funding of social care through the new health and social care levy over the next three years.

Of the total, £3.6 billion will be allocated to fund the introduction of an £86,000 cap on what people would be expected to spend on their care and a more generous means-test system, from October 2023. It also aims to fund councils to pay providers a fair rate for care. Another £1.7 billion is intended to ‘improve the wider social care system’ including integration.

The plan was announced on a white paper earlier this month.

Unsurprisingly, LGA has calculated that councils need up to £9.5 billion a year more by 2025 for social care and urges the government to “immediately redirect a significantly greater share of the levy to frontline adult social care.”

It questions whether the funding set out in the government’s white paper adequately matches the government’s stated level of ambition.

Earlier this month the government announced a £300 million funding, in addition to the £162.5 million announced in October, to help boost recruitment and retention in social care as staff shortages worsen.

But the impact of additional funds will not have a big impact on operators, Heathinvestor UK hears from expert sources.

The Homecare Association claims that operators are turning away care packages amid severe care staff shortages. In a survey, 38% said they were unable to take on new work.

“Everything is pointing towards heightened levels of unmet need. The £5.4 billion in funding is inadequate to meet this level of need when we anticipate that in excess of £11.7 billion per year is required or £14.4 billion per annum if a more appropriate wage is paid,” the Homecare Association says.

HealthInvestor UK has contacted UK’s top four care home operators for comment.

Date published: December 22, 2021

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