Figures released by the Local Government Association show that nine out of 10 local councils have either decided to or are considering raising the extra 2% announced in the Government’s Autumn Spending Review towards social care.
However it has also warned that the vast majority of this money will be swallowed up paying councils’ own care staff the National Living Wage.
The Independent Care Group (York and North Yorkshire) says this situation merely demonstrates how inadequate the 2% was towards easing the social care crisis.
Its chair, Mike Padgham said: “The 2% precept, which looks like being universally taken up by councils, was only ever a tiny sticking plaster on a huge, gaping wound.
“The figures show that virtually none of that money will find its way towards improving care for older and vulnerable adults and will instead be lost in the councils own pay budgets.”
The LGA’s figures suggest 143 out of 152 councils have either agreed to or are considering taking up the 2%, which would raise £372m for social care. However, the LGA also says it will cost England’s 152 social care authorities at least £330 million to cover the cost of introducing the National Living Wage.
“We can see here that the Autumn spending Review is going to have no impact on the crisis that is engulfing social care at this time,” Mr Padgham warned. “The Government has some serious thinking to do on funding social including setting a national tariff for the delivery of social care so that all providers are paid fairly.
“But first and foremost it must look at the merging of health and social care into one, coherent department that cares for our nation’s health and social care.”
More than £5bn has been cut from social care budgets in the past five years, with the result that there are now fewer care home places and less care for people in their own home.