Richard Hawkes, Chair of the Care and Support Alliance said:
“The social care system is on its knees. Chronic under-funding is leaving people without the support they need to get up and get out of the house. Without that support they are more likely to be isolated, fall into crisis and end up in A&E.
“The Minister has recognised the need to radically overhaul the creaking system.
“The Care Bill is a real achievement that will massively improve the way people receive care.
“But we’re only half way there. We now need to focus on getting the funding right – councils say the Better Care Fund is not enough.
“Senior politicians from all parties have joined councils, social workers and charities in calling for greater transparency when it comes to making sure the money is there.
“Paul Burstow is spot on that ‘for decades social care has been the poor relation to health’ that the cost of care is the ‘elephant in the room’.
“We also need to get the roll-out right – eligibility has to be set at a level that means people that need support to do the basics get it.
“With the budget coming up there’s an opportunity to commit to creating not just a great bill, but a care system that gives older and disabled people – and the families that care for them – the support they need to do the things everyone else takes for granted.”
On Monday The Telegraph published a joint letter from CSA, ADASS, LGA and SOLACE, ahead of the Care Bill second reading in Parliament. The letter calls on the Government to support our joint amendment to the Bill, tabled by Paul Burstow, which aims to ensure monitoring of investment.
SIR – Not only has care been chronically underfunded, but there is a £135 million shortfall in new money being given to councils to implement the Care Bill, which enters its final stages in Parliament this week. Better Care Fund money earmarked for joint work between health and social care will instead be spent on introducing carers’ assessments, implementing safeguarding boards, and setting new eligibility criteria. Therefore, the legislation could end up being funded from money otherwise used for acute services.
In the period of the current Parliament, local government’s core funding will fall by 40 per cent, so councils have to cut £20 billion in spending. As a result, councils have had to reduce adult social care budgets by £2.68 billion. Although local authorities have limited the impact on the essential care services that people rely on, these services will inevitably suffer.
We urge the Government to support a joint amendment that will give the Care and Support Reform Programme Board – comprised of local government, the care sector and the Department of Health – the opportunity to say whether the money being made available is the right amount to implement the provisions of this Bill.
Cllr Katie Hall
Chairman, Local Government Association’s Community and Wellbeing Board
Chairman, Care and Support Alliance
Dr Jo Farrar
Lead on health and social care, Solace