CLG Committee Critical of Government Social Funding Gap

The Communities and Local Government Committee has concluded that it is essential for the government to commit to closing the long-term social care funding gap.

In particular, the committee suggests that the Chancellor could bring forward £1.5 billion funding from the improved Better Care Fund to plug the hole in social care funding in the year ahead.

The statement was made by the committee in the Pre-Budget report for their Adult Social Care inquiry.

Responding to the declining state of social care, the committee called on the government to commit to closing the funding gap for the rest of the Parliament through to the end of the decade.

The committee believes that the National Audit Office can play a major role in this process, building on its earlier work in this area to determine the level of funding that the government will need to find for 2018/19 and 2019/20.

Clive Betts, Chair of the Communities and Local Government Committee, opined that there is an urgent need for a review, ideally cross-party, of the provision and funding of social care in the long-term.

“The adult social care sector provides care and support to adults of all ages with care needs to enable them to lead independent and fulfilling lives. Throughout our inquiry we have heard powerful evidence from all parts of the sector, including people who receive council-funded social care services, about the stress the system is under,” Betts stated.

And the chair of committee also indicated the position of the organisation on funding.

“The Government should bring forward £1.5bn from the improved Better Care Fund to help social care services meet the immediate pressures over the next year and then commit to closing the funding gap up to 2020. While short-term action is vital, there are funding, structural, and other problems facing the social care sector in the medium- and long-term which we shall be addressing in our final report published next month”.

The report recognises growing concern about the pressures on councils’ adult social care budgets, and the financial sustainability of the system.

It is noted that since 2010 the core grant which councils receive from central government has reduced and, at the same time, councils’ social care budgets have faced a set of increasing cost pressures.

These include a growing and ageing population, increasingly complex care needs, and the implementation of the Care Act 2014, the National Living Wage and Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards.

Estimates for the funding gap in adult social care range from £1.3 billion to £1.9 billion in 2017/18 and £1.1 billion to £2.6 billion in 2019/20.

 

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