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Book now to attend our National Rural Conference, (in association with the CCRI), in Cheltenham on 3rd & 4th September) here. The keynote speaker for the conference is the Rt Hon Lord Foster of Bath, Chair of the House of Lords Select Committee on the Rural Economy.

Funding of adult social care inquiry

The Rural Services APPG has for some months been carrying out an Inquiry into the future funding of Adult Social Care in the rural context.

The Inquiry was limited to England and has been conducted to enable the APPG to submit evidence to, and to respond to the specific issues contained in, the Government’s Proposed Green Paper on the subject to be published later in 2018.

The Rural Services Network provides the Secretariat for the APPG on Rural Services.

Rebecca Pow MP, one of the Joint Chairs of the APPG is submitting the Interim report as a result of the Inquiry to Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care.

The report sets out a number of Overarching Recommendations, Resource Distributional Recommendations and Workforce Planning Recommendations.

The overarching Recommendations include:

  • The present system of funding both Adult and Children’s Social Care Services needs to be changed urgently and ahead of new legislation flowing from the Green Paper’s wider considerations. The present system is unsustainable and, moreover, is very unfair and inequitable for providers operating across rural areas (and the Council Tax payers in those areas) when compared to their urban counterparts. There needs to be a substantial re -balancing to those areas which have the oldest populations in both the 65+ and 85+ age categories.
  • Social Care is a national issue – and at present is in crisis nationally. It should be 100% funded by central government in terms of a national core level(s) of service available (at the same cost if personal financial contributions are to be required) to all, irrespective of where they live. The Service should continue to be delivered at the present level of County/Unitary local authorities with sufficient discretion to determine how that core level(s) of services should be provided in their local context. Council Tax is not a suitable taxation vehicle for demand responsive services and produces a postcode lottery of supply which is able to be funded.
  • Council Tax should only be used to fund any exercise of discretion by the local authority to provide a service above the national core level(s).
  • A future system of dealing with care needs must address, and properly fund, the“prevention” services” provided by County and Unitary Councils through Public Health funding and also those services provided by District/Borough Councils which are aimed at enabling people to live healthily and safely in their own homes (if necessary, with support) as long as possible.

The Rural Services Network has long campaigned for Fairer Funding for Rural Areas. Central Government has historically and systematically underfunded rural areas giving them less grant per head than urban areas – despite the fact that it costs more to provide the services. Rural residents earn less on average than those in urban areas and pay more Council Tax for fewer local government services. Government policy, implicitly, is that council services in rural areas are more reliant on funding through council tax than their urban counterparts. We demand fairer funding for all public services serving rural areas and wait to see what relief the Green Paper on Social Care will bring!

The full report can be downloaded here

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