The Levelling Up, Housing, and Communities Committee has, today, published a report outlining the state of the government’s plans for adult social care and have said that additional funding must be made available this year.
The report looked into the government’s charging reforms, local government finance, unpaid carers, and workforce challenges, concluding that the “message rang clear through our inquiry: the adult social care sector does not have enough funding either in the here or now, or in the longer-term.”
Chair of the Levelling Up, Housing, and Communities Committee, said:
“As Prime Minister, Boris Johnson said he would fix the crisis in social care once and for all. The Government deserves credit for attempting reform and for acting to try the unpredictable and catastrophic costs which can be inflicted upon people for their care. However, the government should be under no illusions that s has come close to recuing social care, and it needs to be open with the public that there is a long way to go.
“Ultimately, whether it relates to immediate cost pressures or on wider structural issues in the sector, the fundamental problem is that there continues to be a large funding gap in adult social care which needs filling. Those who need care, their loved ones, and care workers deserve better.
“The NHS and adult social care provision should not be pit against one another. The two systems are interdependent and each needs to be adequately funded to reduce pressure on the other. Wherever the money comes from – from allocating a higher proportion of levy proceeds to social care, or from central government grants – the government urgently needs to allocate more funding to adult social care in the order of several billions each year.”
The report outlines that:
- When it comes to adult social care, the government has nothing more than a vision. There is no roadmap, no timetable, no milestones, and no way to measure success.
- The government needs to provide 10-year plans for how it will achieve its vision outlined in the ‘People at the Heart of Care’ White Paper and the local workforce.
- A multi-year funding settlement should be provided by the government, in order to give local authorities what they need in terms of their own sustainability and their ability to help shape sustainable local care markets.
The added pressures of the Covid-19 pandemic as having exacerbated the underlying challenges of an increased demand, needs not being met, and difficulties in staff recruitment and retention have all been noted by the report, alongside the importance of current pressures such as increases in the National Living Wage and the National Minimum Wage, as well as rising inflation.
One of the key points highlighted is also that the majority of the funding from the Health and Social Care Levy will go to the NHS, whilst the money that was set aside for adult social care, is for reforms and to make up for cost pressures.
The report has called upon the government to publish a new assessment of burdens by the end of the year to determine the level of resource needed by local government in terms of staff, expertise, and funding to deliver the full package of adult social care reforms.