ADASS welcomes recognition of the crisis in social care funding, but concludes it risks being too little and coming too late to help growing numbers of older and disabled people needing care and support
DIRECTORS OF ADULT social services have reacted with serious concern to today’s Government spending review which appears to promise more than it delivers. It allows councils to raise local taxes by an additional, ring-fenced two per cent to help pay for social care services. It also promises a further £1.5 billion support through the Better Care Fund in 2020.
But crucially, this does not start until 2017 and as yet there are no details about how it is phased in the subsequent years, giving serious concerns about how care and support will be funded in the interim. All of this is set against reductions to Local Government grant and optimistic estimates of what council tax will raise to compensate.
ADASS President Ray James warned that “although the Treasury’s recognition of the untenable position of social care budgets is very welcome, Ministers must know that the proposals do not deliver sufficient funding to meet the growing number of older and disabled people requiring increasingly complex care and support and the Chancellor’s welcome announcement of the living wage. Perhaps inevitably at this stage, there are many more questions.
“The Council Tax precept will raise least money in areas of greatest need which risks heightening inequality. Councils in deprived areas will have greatest social care needs, yet they will raise less than 1/3rd of what more affluent areas do through this approach.”
He went on: “We don’t believe that the funding for the next couple of years will anywhere near meet the costs of the national living wage and the increasing demand for social care (we are bound to ask what happened to the £6billion saved by deferring the Dilnot reforms). Adult social care is already struggling. Last week we ran a poll of directors. 76% of adult social care budgets are currently overspent by a total of £340million already this year, before the greatest demands of winter months.
"The NHS and social care are completely interdependent and without adequate social care funding inevitably more people will be admitted to hospital and there will be delays in helping them home safely."
Ray James went on to remind the Chancellor of a recent emergency letter sent on behalf of 15 charities, voluntary, and independent sector care providers. This recognised the very difficult state of the care market and the likelihood of care home closures unless a satisfactory national solution was found. We have already seen this in Northern Ireland: similar closures in residential and domiciliary care in the UK now seem inevitable given the delays in restoring funding to the sector.
He acknowledged, however, that the Chancellor’s statement was a serious attempt to raise much needed funding for social care, and that it does represent a real and welcome recognition of the challenges, but concludes that much of the promised funding will come too late to help people in need of care and support, their families and carers.
For further information contact
Ray James, 020 8379 4160
Drew Clode, 020 8348 5023 mob: 07976 837755
The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) is a charity. Our objectives include:
- Furthering comprehensive, equitable, social policies and plans which reflect and shape the economic and social environment of the time
- Furthering the interests of those who need social care services regardless of their backgrounds and status and
- Promoting high standards of social care services
Our members are current and former directors of adult care or social services and their senior staff.