It has estimated that, even if all councils used their council tax flexibilities to the maximum allowed, adult social care services still face a funding gap of at least £1 billion in 2019/20, just to maintain existing standards of care. This will rise to £3.6 billion by 2025. The dignified care and support that older and disabled people deserve – such as help getting dressed, fed, or getting out and about – therefore remains at risk.
A host of health and care organisations, including Age UK and the NHS Confederation, have signed an LGA-led letter urging the Government to be bold in its upcoming adult social care green paper and Spending Review, and to urgently invest in these essential services – which face a £3.6 billion funding gap by 2025.
Cllr Richard Watts, Chair of the LGA’s Resources Board, said: “Adult social care provides vital support to millions of people every day, but is at breaking point. Extra council tax income for adult social care has been helpful in recent years. For many, that option has run out this year and the extra money the rest will raise will do little to prevent those who rely on services seeing the quality and quantity reduce.
“Raising council tax has never been the answer to fixing our chronically underfunded social care system. It has raised different amounts of money in different parts of the country, unrelated to need, and risked adding an extra financial burden on households.
“Investing in social care is the best way to keep people out of hospital and living independent, dignified lives at home and in the community. This is not only good for our loved ones, but is proven to alleviate pressure on the NHS.”
The LGA is highlighting the growing risk to vital local services if the Government does not take action to secure the financial sustainability of councils in this year’s Spending Review, as part of its #CouncilsCan campaign – see www.local.gov.uk/councils-can