Responding to the Public Accounts Committee report on adult social care in England, Cllr Katie Hall, Chair of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board, said:
“This report is yet another stark warning to government that adult social care funding needs to be put on a sustainable footing or social care services will remain substantially underfunded and will suffer as a result.
“Council finances are on a knife-edge and next year will be make or break for local services provided by councils and for the NHS. Although councils have managed to limit the impact on the essential care services that people rely on, it is inevitable that services will eventually start to suffer unless there is a long-term commitment to reforming our broken fundingsystem. It will be the most vulnerable families and older people in our communities who will bear the brunt.
“Councils have made savings of £10 billion in the last three years and will continue to try and protect spending on adult social care and safeguarding as much as possible. The Committee is right to highlight the real risk that the costs to councils associated with implementing the Care Act reforms will exacerbate the problem and must be fully funded. Whilst councils fully support the ambitions of the Care Act reforms, we also agree that without sufficient funding we run the risk of raising expectations too high and jeopardising the potential of the reforms to truly support people’s wellbeing and independence.
“Efficiencies alone are not enough to solve the funding crisis in social care. The introduction of the Better Care Fund next year should be a once-in-a-generation opportunity to both improve quality of life for people in their older years and steer England’s social care system away from the road to financial ruin. We urgently need the Government to commit to a bigger Better Care Fund that will join up funding between health and social care over the next five years, providing better support for less money.”