William Eichler 01 February 2017

‘Emergency’ £1bn needed to stabilise social care

The Government should provide councils with an ‘emergency’ £1bn as a short-term solution to the social care crisis, directors of social services say.

In its submission to the 2017 budget, the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) urged Whitehall to provide the ‘vital’ funding to address the shortfall in next year’s budgets and stabilise the ‘sufficiency and quality’ of the care market.

Without the new funds, ADASS warned, local authorities would ‘fail to meet their statutory duties’.

The fragile state of the care market is reflected in a recent ADASS survey which found nearly two-thirds (62%) of councils have had residential and nursing home closures, and more than half (57%) have had care providers hand back contracts.

Councils are also projecting a combined overspend on adult social care for 2016/17 of around £441m, a huge rise on the £168m in 2015/16.

‘It is imperative that social care is treated as a national priority because current solutions go nowhere near what is needed to meet the increased needs for, and costs of, care for older and disabled people,’ said Margaret Willcox, president elect of ADASS.

‘A cumulative total of £5.5bn has been cut from council social care budgets by the end of this financial year.

‘If the huge projected council overspends of £441m cannot be funded from savings in other council services or from reserves, even greater reductions in social care services will follow in the next few months and many councils risk failing to meet their statutory duties.’

‘Emergency assistance of £1bn - which is at least what all leading sector experts say is needed to fund adult social care next year - and distributed on a needs based formula, will prevent further deterioration whilst working on a longer term solution, and would go some way towards stabilising the system for councils, providers and the NHS,’ she added.

The true scale of feeling across local government about the escalating social care crisis is revealed by the results of an exclusive survey.

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