Care England warns that the new local government settlement, which sets out a plan to finance councils from locally-raised council tax and business rates, does not represent a renewed commitment to social care. This a worrying underestimation of the impact of historic underfunding.
Chief Executive of Care England, Professor Martin Green OBE, said:
“The Government believes that the optional 2% council tax precept for social care, combined with the Better Care Fund injection, will be worth £3.5bn to the sector. However, the King’s Fund have calculated that this money will only bring £2.7bn, only by 2020, and only if every council raises the full amount of the precept every year. Crucially, this amount is insufficient to plug the current funding gap, and councils are under pressure from their electorate to freeze council taxes: last year, the average council tax increase was 0.9%, even when councils could charge up to 1.9% without a referendum.”
Martin Green continued:
“The Government has described the settlement as providing ‘further financial certainty’ for Local Authorities. For Adult Social Care teams, care providers, and those in need of care, there is no certainty: will their council raise council taxes to better fund their care, will they raise the full 2%, and will they do so every year? What is ‘certain’ about this postcode lottery?
Care England understands that the Better Care Fund will address the inconsistency of new funding from the council tax precept. To date, Care England has not been party to the Better Care Fund decisions. However it is clear that this money will only begin to address discrepancies in distribution in 2017, due to the decision to back-load the BCF. This means that inequalities will still exist across the country.
These plans will not just affect older people, but those of all ages living with physical and learning disabilities.”