Three quarters of MPs agree that adult social care funding from government should be protected in a similar way to the NHS for the next five years, a poll published today shows.
The survey carried out by ComRes and commissioned by the Local Government Association shows that the majority of MPs from all political parties (75 per cent) agree that in the next Parliament adult social care funding from government should be protected in the same way as NHS funding.
In total 35 per cent of MPs strongly agreed and 40 per cent said they tend to agree. Only four per cent of MPs strongly disagreed, whilst 15 per cent tended to disagree.
MPs in the North were most likely to support this protection of adult social care funding (90 per cent). 61 per cent of MPs in the South agreed. This compares to 87 per cent in London and 67 per cent in the Midlands.
A separate ComRes survey of future MPs made up of incumbent MPs and prospective parliamentary candidates (PPCs) seen as being likely to win their seats in May showed that 76 per cent agreed that in the next parliament, adult social care funding from government should be protected in the same way as NHS funding. No future MPs strongly disagreed.
It suggests that support for the protection of adult social care funding among MPs will continue into the next Parliament.
LGA analysis has shown councils are facing a £4.3 billion black hole in adult social care funding by the end of the decade, as a result of increasing numbers of people needing care and further reductions to local government funding. Councils have warned that this could mean thousands of elderly and disabled people risk being denied the quality of care they deserve to help them live independently in their own homes for longer.
Council leaders and health experts have warned that continuing to protect and invest money in the NHS whilst forcing councils to cut their already chronically underfunded social care budgets is a false economy which will not enable councils to alleviate pressure on the health service.
The LGA is urging the next government to make protecting adult social care funding one of their first priorities.
Cllr David Sparks, Chair of the LGA, said:
“Councils, care workers, health professionals and now even MPs agree that social care funding must be protected in the same way as the NHS. There can be no excuse for the next government to ignore this.
“No one wants to see their elderly mum or dad or sick neighbour suffer at the hands of a system that is buckling under the strain of inadequate funding. If we don’t have a commitment to protect the money for adult social care now, this will leave councils unable to alleviate the pressure on the NHS and puts at risk the services which help to keep elderly and disabled people independent, out of hospital and in their own homes for longer.
“Councils have protected our most vulnerable people as far as possible, often at the expense of other services, and we will continue to prioritise those most in need. However, the combined pressures of insufficient funding, growing demand, escalating costs and a 40 per cent cut to local government funding across this Parliament mean that despite councils’ best efforts they are having to make tough decisions about the care services they can provide.
“Adult social care is in crisis. We need a care system that is fit for the 21st century. It’s not enough for consecutive governments to keep papering over the cracks with short term fixes. We urgently need a longer term solution that puts social care on a sustainable footing. Failure to do so will deprive our elderly of the care they deserve, create additional pressure on the NHS and push other local services over the edge.”