In an article on the LGA website they detail how concerns have grown among councils in recent months that the Government’s adult social care charging reforms are potentially hugely underfunded, which will risk their implementation as well as exacerbating existing pressures on the system.
Of the £36 billion the new UK-wide health and social levy will raise over the next three years, only £5.4 billion is ringfenced for social care reforms in England. These include the introduction of a ‘fair rate of care’ that councils will pay providers and tackling the issue of self-funders paying more for their care than those who access support at the council rate.
Their survey (of senior councillors responsible for adult social care) also found three quarters of responding councils said that they are not confident they will have the required capacity in frontline staff to deliver the reforms.
The LGA report that unless action is taken and government rethinks its plans, people who draw on care may experience reductions in quality and availability of care and support services, while at the same time paying more for them through the new health and social care levy and increased council tax.
Cllr David Fothergill, Chairman of the LGA Community Wellbeing Board said:
“This survey lays bare the huge concerns of councils that the Government’s charging reforms are significantly underfunded. This has the potential to tip councils over the financial edge.
“Underfunding these reforms will only exacerbate pre-existing significant pressures, which the reforms – and the funding for them – do nothing to address. These include unmet and under-met need, greater strain on unpaid carers and increased waiting times for assessments and delivery of care packages.
“A higher proportion of the health and social care levy needs to be spent on social care to tackle these issues and create stable foundations for these reforms. Councils are stretched thin as it is, and my colleagues across the county have highlighted how many of their council services could be impacted by the cost of these reforms.
“Local government is seeking immediate assurances that the Government will underwrite any additional costs councils incur and will work with councils as a matter of urgency to consider further mitigations that may need to be used if funding, capacity and timescale pressures threaten implementation.”
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