William Eichler 08 November 2016

Social care system facing £1.9bn funding gap

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The publicly funded social care system faces a nearly £2bn funding gap next year - even if the majority of councils decide to levy the new precept on council tax.

A joint statement from The King’s Fund, Nuffield Trust and The Health Foundation has warned the Government ahead of the Autumn Statement that cuts and rising demand will leave adult social care facing a £1.9bn funding gap in 2017.

The health charities said the sector would face this funding gap even if the majority of councils decided to levy the 2% social care precept on council tax.

UK public spending on social care is set to fall back to less than 1% of GDP by the end of this parliament, leaving thousands more older and disabled people without access to services.

‘Cuts to social care funding are leaving older and disabled people reliant on an increasingly threadbare local authority safety net,’ said the assistant director for policy at The King's Fund, Richard Humphries.

‘For many, the care they get is based not on what they need but on what they can afford and where they live. More people are left stranded in hospital.

‘This Government has committed to creating a country which works for everyone, and they now need to match this with action by using the Autumn Statement to address the critical state of social care.’

In order to address the social care funding crisis, the three bodies urged Whitehall to bring forward to next year funding from the Better Care Fund which is planned to reach £1.5bn in 2019/20.

In response, chairman of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board, Cllr Izzi Seccombe, said: 'Unless social care is properly funded, there is a real risk to the quality and safety of care, and being able to meet basic needs such as ensuring people are washed and dressed or helped out of bed.

'The Government must use the Autumn Statement to provide councils with the funding to ensure we have a fair care system which keeps people out of hospital and living independent, dignified lives at home and in the community.'

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