A decade of funding cuts and uncertainty over the 2020/21 financial settlement has left the social care system on the verge of collapse, a Commons committee report has found.
The review of local government finance and 2019 spending review by the Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee published today confirms a £5bn funding gap for local authorities.
Chair of the HCLG Committee, Clive Betts MP, said: “The battle to meet ever increasing demand for social care has left few further sources of revenue to divert towards it and will now need a dedicated funding solution. The haphazard approach to broader funding has equally created an opaque source of revenue, partially funded by tax systems that don’t spread the burden equally.
“The Government’s attention has been elsewhere for too long and it must now establish a system of funding that both addresses immediate need and supports local authorities in meeting challenges of the future.”
The report says rising demand for social care was placing an intolerable financial burden on local authorities, adding successive governments had failed to produce concrete measures to address the level of day to day demand or future need.
Nadra Ahmed, Executive Chairman of the National Care Association said: “Here is more evidence, if it were needed, that social care remains firmly in the ‘too difficult to handle’ tray on Ministerial desks.
“Despite fleeting references and platitudes we have seen no tangible action or evidence that social care is any closure to tangible and sustainable solution in the minds of the PM or his team. Money is appearing from the magic well to alleviate pressures for many services but the one that sustains vulnerable citizens remains adrift.
“The prospects are not going to get better if that is the hope…we need sustainable funding which is ring fenced for social care as an immediate action and consideration given for exemption from VAT for providers. Who will be bold enough to take the steps before it’s too late?”
Cllr Paul Carter, chairman of the County Councils Network, and leader of Kent County Council, who gave evidence at the committee in June, said it was “paramount” for the Government to provide short term resources targeted at areas most in need in September’s one-year Spending Review.
Cllr Carter also called for a long term settlement and reforms to adult social care in early 2020.