National disability charity Sense has welcomed news that the Government is to consider allowing councils to raise further funding for the social care system, but has warned that more must be done to address the scale of the current funding deficit.
The new proposal could see councils further increase the amount they raise from tax to fund vital local social care services; however, Sense is concerned that a rise in the council tax precept alone will not plug the substantial social care funding gap, which industry experts warn could rise to over £2.6 billion by 2020 .
Richard Kramer, Deputy CEO of disability charity Sense, said:
“It’s positive to see the Government beginning to address recent warnings on the fragility of the social care system by considering funding options; however, we remain concerned that increasing council tax will not raise enough funds to deliver adequate and sustainable services to all those who need them across the country.
“The limited funds raised from the extra 2% social care precept on council taxes from April 2016 did not stem the growing threat of financial collapse the sector now faces and as a result of continued underfunding, the scale of the social care crisis is now colossal, with a deficit prediction of £2.6 billion by 2020. The reality is that although increased council tax will deliver much needed funds, the amount raised will only go a small way towards plugging this huge funding gap.
“In the past year, 11.4% fewer people with sensory impairments received social care support as a result of underfunded councils being forced to ration services. We’re concerned that rather than delivering increased access to these essential services for all those who need support, the money raised through local council tax precepts will inevitably create a postcode lottery.
“For many of the people Sense supports, social care plays a vital role in ensuring that they can live with dignity, independence, and as active members of their communities, which is why the protection of these services should be a vital part of the Government’s agenda to increase life chances for disabled people. It is imperative that funding solutions focus on delivering the centralised funds that are necessary to create a truly sustainable and quality social care system.”