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Adult social care needs an extra £7 billion per year, say MPs

A new report, which examines the government’s charging reforms, workforce crisis and the challenges faced by unpaid carers, is calling for an extra £7 billion per year for adult social care.

The report, published by the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (LUHC) Select Committee, states that the government has “nothing more than a vision” for social care, “with no roadmap, no timetable, no milestones and no measures of success”.

The authors of the report also fear that the majority of the funding earned by the Health and Social Care Levy will go to the NHS, and while it is important that the health service is properly supported, they warn that each sector needs to be adequately funded to reduce pressure on the other.

The workforce crisis in social care has continued to deepen and MPs are now calling on the government to ensure staff feel valued and rewarded with wages that are commensurate to the highly skilled nature of their work. However, there is nothing about this in either the People at the Heart of Care White Paper, or in the Government’s integration proposals.

MPs also state that the £25 million package for support carers over three years is a “totally inadequate amount” that will do little to assure carers that their contribution is valued by the government.

Government must publish a 10 year plan on how its vision for social care will be achieved

To tackle these issues, MPs are calling on the government to publish a 10-year plan for how its ‘vision’ for social care will be achieved, as well as a 10-year strategy for the adult social care workforce, with clear milestones, desired outcomes, and measures of success.

In addition, the report urges the government to work towards achieving parity of pay for comparable roles across the NHS and social care.

In terms of funding, MPs would like the government to provide at least another £7 billion per year for adult social care. However, they also need to rebalance the sources of funding so there is not such a reliance on council tax, and provide a multiyear funding settlement to give local authorities the visibility they need, both for their own sustainability and to help shape sustainable local markets.

Other recommendations include:

  • The Government must update the adult social care relative needs formula by the next financial year. This should be implemented alongside the Fair Funding Review and council tax equalisation.
  • The Government should publish a new burdens assessment by the end of the year to determine the level of resource needed by local government in terms of staff, expertise, and funding to deliver the full package of adult social care reforms.
  • We recommend that integrated health strategies have proper regard to a person’s housing needs as part of their care provision.

The two candidates vying to be next Prime Minister must set out their plans to address the crisis in social care

Clive Betts, Chair of the Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Committee said: Clive Betts, Chair of the Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Committee, said: “As Prime Minister, Boris Johnson said he would fix the crisis in social care once and for all. 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.

Jackie O’Sullivan, Executive Director of Communications, Advocacy and Activism at Mencap, said she “completely agrees” with the Committee’s conclusions, and social care is far from being fixed and current funding falls short of what is needed.

“Investment in social care is also an investment in people – both in rewarding and retaining a skilled, dedicated workforce and providing people with the support they deserve to live happy and healthy lives. It’s concerning that so many people, including adults with a learning disability, are currently unable to access the support they need. This limits their quality of life.  Workforce pressures are intense.

“It’s time to make the recommendations of this report a reality. The Government has made a start, but there is a lot of work left to do and the two candidates vying to be our next Prime Minister must set out their plans to address the crisis in social care which is growing by the day,” she said.

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