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Experts predict bleak future for social care as main party pledges fall short

The severity of the crisis facing adult social care has today been emphasised by an influential think tank which has stated that none of the main political parties come close to addressing or even recognising the sector’s need for funding.

With only a week to go before polls open for the snap general election, the Centre for Health and the Public Interest (CHPI) published a briefing on the implications of each party’s commitment to social care that have been laid out in their manifestos.

And it paints a grim picture of the future for social care, as researchers warned that no matter who comes into power after 8 June, funding promises fall some way short of addressing the enormous challenges facing the sector.

The CHPI also stated that only 0.5% of the country’s GDP is spent on social care – paling in comparison to the 0.7% spent on foreign aid and the enormous 2% spent on armaments and defence.

Experts also stated that only a “substantial amount” of public funds would give the care system any chance of surviving under increasing demand from an ageing population.

The media coverage of social care was also slammed in the document, as it stated that “the narrow – and sometimes ill informed – commentary by the media has allowed politicians from all the major parties to avoid answering serious questions about how they will tackle the real crisis in social care.

“It has allowed them to sidestep awkward questions about how much their proposed solutions will cost the taxpayer and who they will benefit.”

The report reflected that “none of the three main party manifestos gets close to addressing (or even recognising) this need”.

The Labour Party does pledge to increase the amount of funding going into social care – by £8bn over the course of the Parliament – with the aim that this will fund the increase in wages for the sector and end 15-minute care slots for those receiving homecare,” the CHPI reflected. “However, this is just about the amount necessary to fill the shortfall of £2.5bn which has arisen due to the funding cuts made under the previous two governments.”

The Liberal Democrats’ pledge to the sector were also seen as insufficient, as the CHPI document stated that it is unclear whether the promise to spend an additional £6bn over the course of the Parliament on both the NHS and social care would meet the existing social care shortfall.

“The Conservative manifesto makes no statement about additional resources to fund social care other than the additional £2bn over three years, which has already been committed in the last budget before the election,” the CHPI added. “As a result, all three major parties fall short in promising to fund anything above the current bare minimum of social care.”

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David Roe   02/06/2017 at 11:39

The inadequacy in the future underfunding of social care is likely to be much worse than even as highlighted in this briefing because all previous estimates of 'current' (2016/17) underfunding seriously understate the shortfall. This was mainly through failure to include any estimate for the underlying underfunding of specialist care for younger adults (before introduction of the national living wage), as well as understating the amounts required to pay for a sustainable workforce and financially viable providers, prepared to continue to invest for the future. I have personally re-estimated the 'current' shortfall as being at least £4bn (as opposed to the highest estimate from the LGA of only £1.9bn. See

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