The government today told local councils to manage within existing social care funds, despite reports suggesting hundreds of care providers could close due to government cuts.
Ministers have been warned they face a “collapse” in social care across the country due to funding shortages. Around half of local authorities saw care providers close in their areas in the past six months.
The chief executive of Care England, Martin Green told the Today programme that: “about 40% of care services will no longer be viable in the medium term so this is a huge number of care services that will be lost.”
Asked today about reports that the government now plans to raise council tax in order to plug this black hole in funding, Downing Street insisted that councils could manage within existing funds.
“Money alone is not the solution and many councils are providing high-quality social care services within existing budgets,” the prime minister’s spokesperson told the parliamentary lobby, while not ruling out finding additional funding sources in future.
They insisted that poorly run councils were failing to properly manage existing resources.
“If you look at the situation around the country, it is the worst ten per cent of councils that oversee or delayed transfer of care rates that are 20 times worse than the top 10% of councils and half of all delayed discharges are in just 20 local authorities. So this isn’t just about funding, this is about how we deliver an effective and efficient social care system.”
Labour said government cuts to local authorities had made the crisis inevitable.
“There is a crisis in the funding of social care caused by savage Tory cuts to the budgets of local councils,” Barbara Keeley MP, shadow minister for social care, said.
“£4.6 Billion has been cut from adult social care since 2010, meaning 400,000 fewer people now have publicly funded care.
“The right solution would be for Theresa May to admit the Tories have got it wrong and deliver the needed funding for social care. Asking taxpayers and councils to pick up the bill for the Tories’ failure is no substitute for a proper plan.”
May chose to downgrade the social care ministerial role when she succeeded David Cameron as prime minister. The adult social care brief previously belonged to a minister of state position, however, it was delegated to MP David Mowat, who became the parliamentary under-secretary of state for community health and care.
Care charities urged all parties to come together to tackle the problem.
“The level of calls across the social care sector for the government to take action has reached fever pitch,” Janet Morrison, Chief Executive of Independent Age, the older people’s charity said.
“We welcome measures such as a rise in the council tax precept that might provide desperately needed short-term relief but government must accept that last-ditch measures like this are not a sustainable longer-term solution.
“We want the Government to start cross-party talks immediately to explore what can be done to solve the crisis in social care long term to ensure that frail, sick and elderly people do not continue to lose out.”
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