COVID-19 care bill ‘could top £6.6bn’

Providers of adult social care services may face more than £6.6 billion in extra costs because of the coronavirus crisis by the end of September this year, according to new analysis commissioned by councils and social care directors.

Maintaining safe staffing levels and providing personal protective equipment are the biggest drivers of these extra financial pressures, as well as the need for enhanced cleaning of care homes and other care settings, the figures show.

Councils and social care providers are struggling to meet these escalating costs, as well as seeing their income levels fall. While extra government funding has helped, it is still far short of what is expected to be needed.

Cllr Ian Hudspeth, Chairman of the LGA’s Community Wellbeing Board, said: “These figures highlight the sheer scale of the financial pressures facing councils and their social care provider partners as we look to get through the next few weeks and months of this crisis.

“Councils are working closely with providers to support their financial resilience. Of the £3.2 billion of emergency funding given to councils to deal with the immediate impact of the pandemic across all local services, 40 per cent has been allocated to adult social care.

“People who use and work in social care are at the heart of our concerns about this. This analysis needs to spark a fundamental debate about the ability of the care market to respond to the pandemic and what more can be done to support it.

“We look forward to working with government on finding a solution to the immediate pressures facing the sector, including a significant further injection of funding, as well as agreeing a long-term, sustainable funding settlement for social care once this current crisis is over.”

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