William Eichler 19 June 2017

Whitehall must not ‘kick social care reform into the long grass’, counties say

Whitehall must not ‘kick social care reform into the long grass’, counties say

County leaders are urging the Government not to ‘kick social care reform into the long grass’ after last week’s General Election.

Health experts and leading county councillors will meet this week at a half-day summit to discuss the future and present challenges in social care.

Organised by the County Councils Network (CCN) and KPMG, the summit will look at how local government can adapt to the challenges ahead, develop long-term solutions, and share good practice.

England’s counties are responsible for around half the country’s spend on social care.

They are also home to the largest and fastest-growing elderly populations, yet receive the lowest funding per over 65 resident compared to any other local authority type.

LG Futures estimates that on average, counties receive 60% less Government funding per elderly resident than inner London.

Commenting ahead of the summit, Cllr Colin Noble, health and social care spokesman for CCN and leader of Suffolk County Council, said: ‘We know social care has been a hotly-disputed topic, but Government should not waver in its convictions for reform.

‘The long-term sustainability for social care depends on whether we have a national cross-sector conversation on how to ensure we can cope with demand that will only intensify.’

‘Only last year, the cross-party CLG committee highlighted the need for reform, focusing on the fragile state of care markets, building on CCN’s work,’ Cllr Noble continued.

‘Therefore, we should not look to kick the social care green paper into the long grass.

‘Equally, any reform must be underpinned by a fair and sustainable funding methodology for county areas, which funds councils based on their need, rather than the current outdated and regressive formula.

‘It is crucial that county authorities play a full and active part in any future discussions over the long-term sustainability of social care, using our experience at the coalface to help shape proposals.’

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