Editor’s Viewpoint – No Surprises on Adult Social Care Funding Gap

Peter Adams, Editor of The Carer
Peter Adams, Editor of The Carer

Council Tax Precept Fails to Close Adult Social Care Funding Gap…

…says a survey by the Research published today by the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS). Did anyone think it would?

This story which appears on our website has brought the following responses by industry bodies and professionals which we are delighted to reproduce:-

Kate Fitch, Head of Public Policy at Sense said:

“The ADASS survey reveals the pressure local authority budgets are under from government spending cuts and the growing number of people needing support.

When local authorities are unable to fund appropriate care it will lead to many older and disabled people missing out on the services they desperately need for day-to-day life. Inadequate social care has a knock on effect and results in further demands on the NHS. For example, the deafblind people we support can become more susceptible to falls or require hospital treatment because they didn’t get the support they needed from social care.

It is vital that the Government heeds the warnings in this report and release enough funds for local authorities to provide the right level of social care support and reduce the burden on the NHS.”

Head of VODG, Dr Rhidian Hughes, responded by saying:

“The survey findings suggest that the future funding for adult social care is very bleak. Year on year the authoritative analysis from ADASS highlights the continual underfunding of services as cuts are made and unmet need rises.”

“This year is the worst of times for our sector. Services have been cut back to the bone, and the current position of some councils – forced to use reserves to prop up essential services – is clearly unsustainable”.

He goes on to say:

“It is essential that government pays heed to the important findings in the ADASS report. To deliberately overlook the funding gap required to pay for essential services will be to reduce the quality of life for 1.9 million people who use social care in this country.”

Janet Morrison, Chief Executive of Independent Age, the older people’s charity, said:

 “It’s been clear for a while that English councils have been operating a bare bones social care service, but these figures underline just how severe the risk is to the future of this vital public service. Councils are facing a funding gap of nearly £1billion this year alone, increasing numbers of older people are missing out on support and care providers are increasingly exiting the market due to financial difficulties.

 “The Government’s attempt to plug the gap using the social care precept has been less than a sticking plaster, and hasn’t even covered the cost of the new National Living Wage. Amid all the political turmoil, we cannot lose sight of this issue. The crisis facing the future of social care in this country must be at the top of Theresa May’s in-tray.”

Richard Humphries, Assistant Director of Policy, the King’s Fund, said:

em>“This survey is an authoritative analysis of the state of adult social care.

“Our assessment of these findings is that the immediate prospects for the social care system, on which older and disabled people depend, are grave and deteriorating. The diminishing confidence that local authorities can meet their most basic legal duties to provide care for the most vulnerable citizens should be a huge source of public concern. It is clear that measures such as the social care precept and the Better Care Fund are an inadequate response to the widening gulf between need and resources.

“Plummeting levels of confidence among Directors in their ability to  make further savings  is alarming. As the risk of more care providers going out of business intensifies and with the NHS in deep financial trouble, the need for a clear strategy to place the funding of these essential services on a sustainable long term footing is now even more urgent.”

I personally think this is can be the greatest challenge our new Prime Minister is going to face. Yes, I am aware of all the other issues in particular the recent Brexit vote and negotiations to leave Europe, but I genuinely feel that that will be insignificant as our population ages and costs increase.

The fact that the report states that the 2% surcharge as failed to cover the costs of the living wage alone says it all. I noticed that the recent resignation of community and social care minister Alistair Burt went almost unnoticed, and that the time of writing this, there appears to be no names put forward as to who will replace him. If ever a department needed a strong Minister with a vision, then this is it.

Once again we would be very interested in any views you would like to send us!


Peter Adams, Editor of The Carer

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