Council leaders back calls for cross-party deal on social care
Council leaders have supported calls by MPs for the prime minister to reach a cross-party agreement on the future of health and social care, while stressing that any funding solution must be “fair and sustainable”.
Earlier today the chairs of the Health, Public Accounts, and Communities and Local Government committees wrote to the prime minister Theresa May, arguing for a “political consensus” to solve the country’s health and social care crisis following May's appearance before the Liaison committee last year.
The chairs urged the prime minister to call MPs from all political parties to participate in an urgent review, but local government leaders have stressed that it is vital that they are also a part of any discussion.
“Following last month's local government finance settlement, we said there needed to be an urgent and fundamental review of social care before the spring Budget, and we are pleased the select committees back this,” said Cllr Izzi Seccombe, the chairman of the LGA’s community wellbeing board.
“But it is absolutely vital that local government leaders, who are responsible for social care in their local community, are part of that review. This is imperative to get a long-term, sustainable solution to the social care crisis that the most vulnerable people in our society deserve.”
There is a growing crisis facing adult social care, with organisations estimating that the sector faces a funding gap somewhere in between £2.4bn and £2.6bn.
The LGA believes that £1.3bn is needed immediately in order to support the cash-starved provider market, then a further £1.3bn by 2020 to handle anticipated pressures such as an ageing population, inflation and the rising cost of paying the National Living Wage.
The County Councils Network (CCN) said that regional bodies’ size, expertise and financial management record must be “at the heart” of the review, saying that it has “consistently called for a long-term solution [to] the issues faced in adult social care”.
“As a result of being home of the largest proportion of the country’s elderly population, counties bear the brunt of these pressures faced by councils countrywide. Fair and sustainable funding must underpin any solution to create a system that can cope with the demands of the 21st century,” a CCN spokesperson said.
They added that the CCN will be engaging with government and proposing “intelligent” solutions to the adult social care problem in the lead-up to March, when the government will reveal its Budget for the coming financial year.
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