Care England, the organisation representing companies that provide social care, has said that it is “crunch time” for the industry and has urged the Prime Minister to act on his pledge to tackle the social care crisis within 100 days of the election.

Care England’s CEO, Professor Martin Green OBE, said:

“The incumbent Government has until 22 March to act upon the Prime Minister’s pledge to tackle social care within 100 days of his election. The stabilisation of the adult social care sector should be the Government’s first priority, inaction is no longer viable.”

The Conservative’s Conservatives election manifesto in December 2019 contained little on social care, just a vague plan to “build a cross-party consensus on long-term social care funding”. This followed several years of promises for a green paper on social care, but no action.

Social care adds to winter pressure: what’s being done?

Theresa May promised a green paper in the March 2017 Budget; this followed its decision in July 2015 to defer proposals put forward by the “Dilnot Commission” and accepted in principle by the then Coalition Government.

The 2017 general election campaign saw a manifesto commitment to introduce a social care Green Paper and also made a number of pledges regarding how individuals pay for their social care.

Councils being short-changed on social care

This week the government gave the final confirmation of an additional £1.5bn for social care in 2020-21. However, council leaders were disappointed at the government failure to include any additional money to cover the late December announcement of a 6.2% increase in national minimum wage and living wage.

Councils were hoping that some additional money would be forthcoming to help them cover the wage increases. In a statement the Local Government Authority (LGA) said:

“We are disappointed that the government has not used the final settlement to provide the £220 million needed to pay for the faster than expected rise in the National Living Wage (NLW) from April……this unforeseen new cost pressure needs to be funded to avoid the fragile care provider market being further destabilised.”

Although the government touted the funding settlement at 4.4%, as the largest increase in a decade, the LGA noted that the settlement is only for one year and in order to improve services, rather than “just keep them running”, a long-term funding settlement is necessary.

Furthermore, no public health settlement has yet been published, which makes it extremely difficult to plan proper services. Social care and public health are intertwined with the NHS and vital in reducing the strain on the NHS.

£1 billion of the new funding comes from the government, with the remaining £500 million being raised by local authorities from council tax rates and increasing the tax precept that provides dedicated funding for adult social care services by a further 2%.

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