GMB Calls On Government To Increase Care Funding Following ADASS Report
In this country social care is not just in crisis but it is completely falling apart says GMB.
GMB, the union for care workers, has called on the government to increase funding for care to pay for a £1bn shortfall following a report from the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS). (See notes to editors for an ADASS press release about the report).
The report surveyed 151 social care directors and found that increases in council tax had failed to plug the gap in care funding and that councils would be forced to cover the shortfall with cuts to services.
Rehana Azam, GMB National Secretary, said “The mark of a civilised society is the way our elderly are treated and looked after. In this country social care is not just in crisis but it is completely falling apart.
There is now clear evidence that the government has not adequately funded our elderly social care needs. The time has come to act. GMB is calling on incoming Prime Minister Theresa May to make a priority pledge that this will be addressed as a matter of urgency.
We are now in a potentially disastrous situation that is only going to get worse without increased funding from the government. There are homes closing and beds going out of the system, particularly in places like the north of England, where councils pay the least per week for residents. It is clear that the revenue raised from the council tax precept will not be enough to stop care homes going bust.
George Osborne passed the buck to local authorities in the 2015 Spending Review rather than face up to the fact that the government itself has the responsibility to fund the care of the elderly and other vulnerable adults. They have to face the responsibility that their plan for social care has not worked and that it is essential that they adequately fund the care sector before it collapses.”
Contact: Rehana Azam on 07841 181656 or Elly Baker on 07918 768773 or GMB press office on 07970 863411 or 07739 182691
Notes to Editors
1 ADASS press release dated Wednesday, 13th July 2016
Council Tax Precept Fails to Close Adult Social Care Funding Gap
Charging residents extra council tax to pay for social care has failed to raise enough money to cover the cost of the new National Living Wage (NLW), let alone address the huge shortfall in funding in the face of increasing demand, a survey of all 151 adult social services directors in England has found.
Research published today by the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) highlights that the precept, introduced in the Autumn Statement 2015 to give councils the option to raise council tax by 2 per cent for adult social care, will generate less than two thirds of the more than £600 million needed to cover the NLW this year.
That means that this year, directors are left with a gap to fill of around £940 million just to keep services operating at last year’s levels - for all of those people who need them.
ADASS President Harold Bodmer said:
“Councils are working hard to protect adult social services budgets, with adult social care accounting for 35 per cent of council spending for the third year running. However, with more people needing support and having increasingly complex needs, the impact of the welcome national living wage, and other cost pressures, fewer people are getting help, and councils are having to make reductions which will impact on people who receive care.
“More money needs to be invested in prevention to reduce future demand, but with funding under such pressure and diverted to those with greatest and immediate need – those that we have a statutory duty towards – the opportunity to do that is being taken away.
“We have been arguing for some time now that adult social care needs to be given the same protection and investment as the NHS. Services are already being cut, and the outlook for future care is bleak. We’re at a tipping point where social care is in jeopardy, and unless the Government addresses the chronic underfunding of the sector, there will be worrying consequences for the NHS and, most importantly, older and disabled people, their families and carers.”
The overall budget for adult social services has risen slightly from last year due to the precept, from £13.65 billion to £13.82 billion, but there is wide variation between individual councils, with 70 of 151 reporting a fall in budgets. 62 councils needed to draw on reserves last year to fund budget shortfalls, while 52 had to cut services to balance budgets. The precept also raises the least amount of money in the areas of greatest need, intensifying budget pressures.
The survey also found that more people in need were being affected by the crisis in social care funding:
· Despite a 3 per cent increase in the older population, there has not been a corresponding rise in people receiving care;
· At least 24 per cent of the £941 million (7 per cent) savings that adult social services directors will be expected to make this year will come from cutting services or reducing personal budgets;
· 80 per cent of directors reported that care providers – both care home owners and home care providers – were facing financial difficulties and closing care homes or handing back contracts to councils, affecting thousands of people, despite 82 per cent of councils increasing fees to providers.
The survey was carried out before the referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union, which left many questions unanswered about how different services will be affected in the future – including adult social care.
Mr Bodmer said:
“ADASS will be closely monitoring the potential impact of the referendum result on the economy and funding of adult social services, and we’ve extended our support to the 80,000 EU staff who are providing care to people right across the country, every day.
“While these may be uncertain times, the most important thing to remember is that people’s needs for care won’t stop. We still have a responsibility to make sure people are getting the support they need to live independent, valuable lives, and to plan ahead as best we possibly can.”