The LGA, which represents councils in England and Wales, is making the call at its Annual Conference in Bournemouth today as it launches a publication marking one year on from its own green paper on the future of adult social care. In the past 12 months, the Government has delayed its version three times and it is now more than two-and-a-half years since it first committed to producing one.
Health and Social Care Secretary, Matt Hancock, is due to address council leaders at the LGA Annual Conference tomorrow (Thursday 4 July).
The LGA is also renewing its invite to host cross-party talks between national politicians to finally find consensus on desperately-needed reforms, to ensure we meet the future care needs of our ageing population. People are living longer, which is to be celebrated, and often with more complex needs which means councils want to help provide care which fits around the lives they want to lead.
Adult social care faces a £3.6 billion funding gap by 2025. The Government needs to use the Spending Review to secure the immediate future of the social care system until a long-term, sustainable solution is found.
New analysis by the LGA shows that the extra funding needed to close this gap is similar to the 3.4 per cent annual real terms increase given to the NHS in the Long Term Plan. For comparison, the extra £20.5 billion a year by 2023/24 in real terms for the NHS is more than the entire annual net spend on adult social care, which was £15.33 billion in 2017/18.
Chairman of the LGA’s Community Wellbeing Board, Cllr Ian Hudspeth, said:
“More than 12 months has passed since the Government announced yet another delay to the publication of its social care green paper. Those who rely on vital care and support cannot wait any longer.
“Our adult social care system is creaking under increasing pressure which impacts everyone with care and support needs, preventing them from living their lives to the full. It also has consequences for all those involved in adult social care including providers, the workforce and the NHS.
“Councils are having to make incredibly difficult decisions within tightening budgets and cannot be expected to continue relying on one-off funding injections to keep services going. What is needed is funding certainty for both the immediate and long-term.
“That is why the Government needs to commit to meeting our 10-week deadline, before the party conferences start, to finally publish its much-delayed and long-awaited green paper outlining what the future funding options and possible solutions to this crisis are.
“Local government stands ready to host cross-party talks to kick-start this process and make sure we get the answers and certainty we need, so that people can continue to receive essential care and support.”
This month (July) marks a year since the LGA produced its own green paper, following repeated delays to the Government’s version. This was written in only five weeks, followed by a two month consultation period involving five focus groups across the country. More than 1,700 members of the public were polled on key questions and over 540 responses were received from individuals and organisations. A follow up report, setting out the findings and key recommendations, was published just two months later.
The LGA’s new publication, launched at its Annual Conference today, ‘One year on – the LGA green paper for adult social care and wellbeing’, includes a number of powerful contributions and testimonies from those who receive, work in and represent the sector. Organisations including the Care and Support Alliance, Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, The King’s Fund and NHS Confederation are among the contributors, alongside moving perspectives from people on their experience of care and from those working on the frontline who go above and beyond for the people they support, despite ever increasing pressures.