Responding to BBC Panorama’s investigation revealing 95 councils have had home-care contracts handed back by private companies, Cllr Izzi Seccombe, Chairman of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board, said:
“We have warned that the combination of the historic under-funding of adult social care, and the significant pressures of an ageing population and the National Living Wage, are pushing the care provider market to the brink of collapse. These figures show the enormous strain providers are under, and emphasises the urgent need for a long-term, sustainable solution to the social care funding crisis.
“The LGA has led a national effort to highlight the huge pressures facing adult social care and secure £2 billion of significant new government funding for the system over the next three years. The £1 billion councils will initially receive this year, followed by £674 million in 2018/19 and £337 million in 2019/20, represents vital funding for services caring for the most vulnerable in our communities over the next few years.
“However this is just a starting point, and there currently remains a shortfall in the projected social care funding gap. There is already an expectation that the money will reduce the immediate pressure on the NHS. But it is desperately needed to protect vital support services, like home care, ensuring older people and those with mental health conditions, learning and physical disabilities live dignified and fulfilling lives. The overall funding pressures facing councils will also mean they will need to make further cutbacks to vital services this year, including social care.
“That is why it is so important that the Government’s Green Paper on social care will see local government leaders playing a central role in finding a long-term solution that reforms and fully funds our care system. This is essential if we are to do more than just help people out of bed and get washed and dressed but ensures people can live independent, fulfilling lives in the community, and relieve pressures on care providers and avoid widespread market failure.
“With councils facing further funding pressures and growing demand for support by the end of the decade, this is the last chance we have to get this right.