LGA launches own green paper on adult social care
After the government delays publication of green paper on adult social care, the LGA kick-starts debate on creating a sustainable long-term funding solution for social care
Published on 31st July 2018
The Local Government Association has launched its own green paper on adult social care in a bid to kick-start a debate on funding care services.
As councils reach breaking point following years of under-funding against a backdrop of a rising demand for services and costs for care support, the LGA has launched a national consultation to encourage a “desperately needed debate on how to pay for adult social care”.
“Since 2010 councils have had to bridge a £6 billion funding shortfall just to keep the adult social care system going. In addition the LGA estimates that adult social care services face a £3.5 billion funding gap by 2025, just to maintain existing standards of care, while latest figures show that councils in England receive 1.8 million new requests for adult social care a year – the equivalent of nearly 5,000 a day,” said the LGA.
The association highlights that short-term cash injections have not prevented care providers reluctantly closing their operations or returning contracts to councils and less choice and availability to a rising number of people with care needs. This is increasing the strain on an already-overstretched workforce and unpaid carers, and leading to more people not having their care needs met.
Alongside that, councils spend 40 per cent of their budgets on adult social care which is threatening the future of other council services.
Cllr Izzi Seccombe, Chairman of the LGA’s Community Wellbeing Board, said: “People have a right to live the life they want to lead and high quality adult social care and support plays an essential role in this. It is also vital to society. It strengthens communities, reduces pressures on the NHS, supports around 1.5 million jobs and contributes as much as £46 billion to the UK economy.
“But work to find a long-term funding solution for adult social care and support has been kicked into the long grass by successive governments for the past two decades and has brought these services to breaking point.
“It has created a deeply uncertain and worrying future outlook for people who use adult social care services now and the growing number of people who will need them in the future,” she added.
After the government decided to delay its green paper on a sustainable solution to how to pay for social care, council leaders have taken matters into their own hands.
The LGA eight-week consultation therefore sets out options for how the system could be improved and the radical measures that need to be considered given the scale of this funding crisis. Possible solutions to paying for adult social care in the long-term include:
- Increasing income tax for taxpayers of all ages – a 1p rise on the basic rate could raise £4.4 billion in 2024/25
- Increasing national insurance – a 1p rise could raise £10.4 billion in 2024/25
- A Social Care Premium - charging the over-40s and working pensioners an earmarked contribution (such as an addition to National Insurance or another mechanism). If it was assumed everyone over 40 was able to pay the same amount (not the case under National Insurance), raising £1 billion would mean a cost of £33.40 for each person aged 40+ in 2024/25.
- Means testing universal benefits, such as winter fuel allowance and free TV licences, could raise £1.9 billion in 2024/25
- Allowing councils to increase council tax – a 1 per cent rise would generate £285 million in 2024/25
As well as funding issues, the LGA green paper calls for a debate about how to shift the emphasis of the health and care system to preventative personalised care in a bid to reduce pressure on the NHS.
The consultation is seeking the views of people and organisations and will respond to the findings in the autumn to inform and influence the government’s green paper and spending plans.
Cllr Izzi Seccombe, Chairman of the LGA’s Community Wellbeing Board, said: “We cannot duck this issue as a society any longer. Our green paper is the start of a nationwide public debate about the future of care for all adults, and how best to support their wellbeing, and we encourage as many people and organisations to have their say on how we pay for it and the responsibilities of citizens, families and communities.
“Adult social care and support matters. We must fund it for the long-term so that people of all ages can be supported to live the life they want to live. Building a better society means ensuring that everyone receives the care they need to lead a good life: well, independent and at home for as long as possible. This process must start now.”
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