The government’s social care plans have been met with a mixed reception following yesterday’s Spending Round announcement by chancellor Sajid Javid.
Javid pledged that £1.5 billion would be provided for local councils in a bid to help “stabilise the system”, including a 2% council tax precept used to raise £5 million.
And while Care England has cautiously welcomed the news, United Kingdom Homecare Association (UKHCA) has called for a firmer commitment to address social care issues, saying that the proposals are not enough in the long term.
Professor Martin Green OBE, chief executive of Care England, said: “If the Chancellor had neglected social care his Comprehensive Spending Review it would have morphed into an incomprehensive spending review as it is essential to set the books straight for social care.
“This money is extremely welcome, but it must reach the front line.”
Care England has also said it will seek to work with the Treasury to ensure that it is delivered to front line care services.
Green continued: “In an integrated health and social care system which the Government aspires to it is right that social care is allocated a greater share of the joint resources.
“Our latest research demonstrates that some 30 councils are paying providers less than £500 per week for residential care. Such dismally low fee levels barely allow many providers to fulfill their minimum statutory obligations, let alone invest the necessary resources to ensure the longer-term stability of their organisations.
“Thus, our representations to the Treasury made clear that low levels of funding are one key component of why many providers are currently being forced to close their services”.
Jane Towson, CEO of UKHCA, said: “Although the commitment of £1bn for adult and children’s social care for councils in England is a step in the right direction by the Government, it does not go nearly far enough to address the stark reality that faces social care now and in the long term.
“Additionally, the extra £0.5bn mentioned that could be raised by the social care precept is far from certain.”
“Over 1.4m people are not getting the support they need, with demand rising all the time. The amount is some way short of what is needed to ensure people are suitably supported.”
In a letter sent to the Department of Health and Social Care in anticipation of the Spending Review, UKHCA called on the Government to address long- term funding and publish a Social Care Green Paper in England; take actions which reduce cost pressures on UK social care providers; and invest in the workforce – ensuring the fees paid by local authorities to home care providers who deliver state-funded care are sufficient to allow attractive rates of pay which will facilitate recruitment, retention and investment in skills training.
Towson concluded: “UKHCA remains committed to working with Government to support a thriving social care system which supports those in receipt of state-funded care and those who fund their care from their private means.”
Julie Ogley, the president of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS), said it was a “positive first step” that local authorities and care providers at least had clarity for the next year.
“It is not as much as we and others have set out is needed, and we will want to understand the detail including how this fits with other funding for local government and the NHS,” Ogley added.
Meanwhile, Sally Warren, director of policy at The King’s Fund charity, said the money for adult social care “will only just meet what most in the sector said would be the bare minimum in 2020/21 to keep to system going”.
“It’s enough to meet demographic demand pressures, but it’s not going to be enough to increase quality, meet unmet needs, or give much stability to providers and the hugely under-valued social care workforce,” she added.