Not enough money for adult social care reforms, say local councils
Almost all councils (98%) responding to a Local Government Association survey on the government’s adult social care reform agenda say they don’t have confidence that the funding earmarked for the reforms is sufficient.
Of the £36 billion the new UK-wide health and social levy will raise over the next three years, only £5.4 billion is ringfenced for social care reforms in England. These include councils paying providers a ‘fair rate of care’, and tackling the issue of self-funders paying more for their care than those who access support at the council rate.
The survey of senior councillors responsible for adult social care across the country also found three-quarters of responding councils said that they are not confident they will have the required capacity in front line staff to deliver the reforms.
Cllr David Fothergill, chairman of the LGA community wellbeing board said: “This survey lays bare the huge concerns of councils that the government’s charging reforms are significantly underfunded. This has the potential to tip councils over the financial edge.
“Underfunding these reforms will only exacerbate pre-existing significant pressures, which the reforms – and the funding for them – do nothing to address. These include unmet and under-met need, greater strain on unpaid carers and increased waiting times for assessments and delivery of care packages.
“A higher proportion of the health and social care levy needs to be spent on social care to tackle these issues and create stable foundations for these reforms. Councils are stretched thin as it is, and my colleagues across the county have highlighted how many of their council services could be impacted by the cost of these reforms.
“Local government is seeking immediate assurances that the government will underwrite any additional costs councils incur and will work with councils as a matter of urgency to consider further mitigations that may need to be used if funding, capacity and timescale pressures threaten implementation.”
The survey was sent to the lead councillor in all 152 English councils with responsibility for adult social care. A total of 80 councillors replied, giving a response rate of 53%.