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Warning over 'insufficient' social care funding in spending review

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Funding for adult social services announced in the government’s spending review will not be enough to fill financial shortfalls in providing care, ministers have been jointly warned by the sector and NHS organisations.

The settlement delivered in last month’s spending review is “not sufficient”, “not targeted at the right geographies” and “will not come soon enough to resolve the care funding crisis”, said the group of organisations.

In a letter to chancellor George Osborne, health secretary Jeremy Hunt and local government secretary Greg Clarke, the group called for “concerted action” from the government to avoid the financial crisis currently affecting social care.

”The settlement is not sufficient and will not come soon enough to resolve the care funding crisis”

Letter from care sector to government

In his budget announcement, Mr Osborne revealed local authorities would in the future be able to raise council tax by an extra 2% to provide additional funding for adult social care.

But this would be insufficient to plug the funding gap warned the letter that was signed by organisations including the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services and the NHS Confederation – which represents health service providers and commissioners.

Organisations also questioned how the extra 2% would ensure the right level of care was provided across the country “equitably”.

There has been criticism that regions with a larger number of homes that pay lower council tax rates would be able to raise less money – often in places that have a greater need for adult social services.

“We must target resources so that care can be delivered in the places and setting where people need it most”

Letter from care sector to government

The letter also claimed the 2% levy would not cover the additional finances required to introduce the government’s new policy for a “national living wage”, or to deal with the increasing demand from an ageing population. In addition, the letter called for the government to ensure “more significant levels of funding are made available earlier”.

The spending review also announced that additional money for the Better Care Fund – which provides money for local councils and the NHS to deliver services together – would be introduced from 2017 to 2020.

“The settlement for social care is back-loaded with Better Care Fund funding not reaching levels of any significance until towards the end of this parliament,” said the letter.

“This has significant implications in terms of the vital support needed by older and disabled people and their carers. It also puts the delivery of the NHS Five-Year Forward View and the Care Act at risk,” it added.

“We must target resources so that care can be delivered in the places and setting where people need it most in order to support people’s independence and wellbeing,” stated the letter.

A spokesman for the Department for Communities and Local Government said: “The social care precept is part of a wider £3.5bn investment package to ensure councils can support older and vulnerable people in their area.

“In particular, the increased and improved Better Care Fund will offer support to councils with greater demands for their social care services, on top of the funds they raise through the precept.”

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