In reply to the Government response today to the Competition and Markets Authority’s final report into the care homes market, Cllr Linda Thomas, Vice Chair of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board, said:
“This is a serious over-simplification of the situation facing adult social care. Councils may ‘have access to’ increased funding, but each component part is not without its issues. The council tax precept unfairly shifts the burden of tackling a clear national crisis onto councils and their residents.
“This year’s Adult Social Care Support Grant is not new money and was instead created from savings of equivalent value from the New Homes Bonus (NHB); in effect it is simply a redistribution of funding already promised to councils and actually leaves some councils worse off overall as they lose more in NHB payments than they gain in the adult social care grant. Improved Better Care Fund money is similarly not straightforward and Government action has given disproportionate dominance to reducing pressures on the NHS, and within that an extremely narrow focus on delayed transfers of care.
“Councils continue to work extremely closely with providers to ensure there is a diverse and stable market that helps to meet people’s needs. The additional funding councils can call on will be used in part to support the provider market, but the funding is not sufficient to deal with all short-term pressures, hence the projected funding gap of more than £2 billion facing adult social care by 2019/20. Funding uncertainty means it is impossible to plan, or give assurances, beyond 2020, which makes it difficult to guarantee permanent increases in provider fees.
“The additional funding has gone some way to alleviating the significant pressures facing the care and support sector. But these are incremental one-off measures that do very little to address the scale of the funding problem facing social care. What we need is a lasting and sustainable solution for the long-term.
“The publication of the green paper this summer will be important in delivering long-term reform and raising awareness of care and support so people can better plan for their future. If the system remains unchecked, more and more providers will either pull out of council contracts or going out of business altogether.”