MPs warn that social care vision needs cash

Mon,8 August 2022
News Health & Social Care

MPs have urged the Government to provide significant extra funding for the “ravaged social care sector” this year and in the longer term. The cross-party Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (LUHC) Committee warned in a report that additional funding is needed now if the sector is to meet immediate pressures – including inflation and unmet care needs.

Examining the Government’s charging reforms and local government finance, unpaid carers and workforce challenges, the report says the “message rang clear throughout our inquiry: the adult social care sector does not have enough funding either in the here and now, or in the longer-term”.

It suggests the Government possesses a vision for adult social care but one with “no roadmap, no timetable, no milestones, and no measures of success”.

It urges ministers to produce ten year plans detailing how it will deliver the vision outlined in the People at the Heart of Care white paper and improve recruitment and retention in the social care workforce.

Other recommendations include a multi-year funding settlement to allow local authorities to shape sustainable local care markets.

Clive Betts, Chair of the Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Committee, said: “The Government deserves credit for attempting reform and for acting to try to prevent the unpredictable and catastrophic costs which can be inflicted upon people for their care. However, the Government should be under no illusions that it has come close to rescuing social care and it needs to be open with the public that there is a long way to go.

“Ultimately, whether it relates to immediate cost pressures or on wider structural issues in the sector, the fundamental problem is that there continues to be a large funding gap in adult social care which needs filling. Those who need care, their loved ones, and care workers deserve better.”

The report was published as directors of social care warned that 600 people a day are being added to local authority waiting lists for social care. (See ADASS on our website).

Fazilet Hadi, DR UK’s Head of Policy, said: “Disabled people who depend on social care will recognise the picture set out in this report. We welcome the Committee’s main finding that social care has a huge funding gap that needs to be met. Despite Government recognition of the importance of social care, it remains unwilling to step up to the challenge of providing a funding formular that meets need.”     

Meanwhile, some 600 people a day are joining growing waiting lists to be assessed for care and support in England, a survey of members of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services has found.

Almost 300,000 people are now waiting for an assessment of their needs by social workers, an increase of 90,000 (44%) in five months. One in four has been waiting longer than six months.

The association warns that at this rate of increase, the number waiting will hit 400,000 by November – double the total 12 months previously.

Ms Hadi said: “The scale of this surge in numbers waiting for assessment or a service or payment is deeply disturbing. Behind these figures are hundreds of thousands of Disabled people waiting to lead fulfilling lives and often trapped at home without the assistance they need.”