William Eichler 22 December 2021

Social care white paper fails to tackle ‘central issue of funding’

Social care white paper fails to tackle ‘central issue of funding’ image

Local authority leaders have called on the Government to ensure more of the new health and care levy is directed towards the social care system.

In their response to the Government’s adult social care white paper, the Local Government Association (LGA) warns that the ‘central issue of funding’ has not been tackled.

In the October Spending Review, the Government announced grant funding of £1.6bn per year for councils over the next three years.

The LGA estimates that the Spending Review funding will enable councils to meet pressures this year. However, they warn that local authorities face future demographic and inflationary base annual pressures of £1.1bn and so will struggle to meet demand in full in 2023/24 and 2024/25.

They are also concerned that the £5.4bn allocated for social care through the new Health and Social Care Levy will not be enough because £5bn will reportedly go to the NHS and the COVID-19 vaccine programme.

‘The Government’s new health and care levy will help pay for important future reforms of adult social care, but none of what has been set aside so far deals with immediate, frontline pressures facing care services right now,’ said Cllr David Fothergill, chairman of the LGA’s Community Wellbeing Board.

‘We recognise the NHS faces a significant backlog which needs to be tackled, but so does social care which faces huge challenges in addressing unmet and under-met need, workforce shortages and care worker pay, to name a few. Otherwise we are building towards a future based on inadequate foundations.

‘This means some people cannot access any or as much of the care they need, impacting upon of their quality of life and also has a direct knock-on effect on getting people out of hospital and into their homes and communities, which is both bad for the individual and for the health service.

‘A greater proportion of the new levy, which most of us will be paying, should go directly towards social care upfront to reflect this urgency and deal with these immediate pressures, if we are to ultimately help realise the Government’s ambitions.’

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