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16.12.16

CLG committee to examine and press ministers on £900m social care plans

The Communities and Local Government (CLG) committee is set to examine the government’s new plans to address the funding shortfall facing adult social care.

Sajid Javid announced a number of initiatives to boost social care in his local government finance settlement this week including allowing councils to raise the social care precept to 3% for the next two years and the launch of an additional £240m adult social care grant gained from New Homes Bonus savings.

Javid said that the proposals would provide £900m extra coverage to adult social care over the next few years. The CLG committee have now agreed to consider the government’s strategy for tackling social care in the long term.

Clive Betts, chair of the committee, said: “The secretary of state’s announcement goes some way to acknowledging the very challenging financial pressures which local authorities are facing in providing adult social care services.

“In the CLG committee’s inquiry we've heard how the gap in social care funding is causing serious difficulties to both NHS and social care services.

“As a committee we will want to examine the details of this announcement, including the move to provide additional funds from the New Homes Bonus rather than through the Better Care Fund, and we will press ministers on the long-term future of social care in the New Year.”

The CLG committee’s announcement comes as campaigners have criticised the government for not providing enough funding to truly address the social care crisis, calling Javid’s commitment of £900m a ‘regressive, short-term sticking plaster’.

Cllr Neil Clarke, chairman of the District Councils’ Network, argued that the government must put in place a longer term plan for social care.

“The application … of sticking plaster solutions, which only recycle existing local government funding, does not tackle the wider need for a sustainable and long-term funding solution, alongside a far greater focus on prevention to reduce demand,” Cllr Clarke said regarding the New Homes Bonus savings.

The CLG committee is currently conducting a wider examination into the stability of local authority adult social care in terms of finances and the quality of care provided to patients.

The committee recently held a session with the chief executive of NHS England Simon Stevens and Stephen Dorrell, chair of the NHS Confederation, to discuss how the crisis in reduced adult social care budgets is impacting on the NHS, particularly the progress of STPs.

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