Councils in England have backed government plans to introduce a cap on care but have warned that it must be fully funded in order to avoid “catastrophic” consequences for local services.
A new report, Sustainable Social Care: A Green Paper that Delivers A New Deal for Counties, sets out the County Councils Networks policy positions on adult social care ahead of the government’s Green Paper.
Cllr David Williams, County Councils Network spokesman for health and social care, and leader of Hertfordshire County Council, said: “This report today sets out policy proposals for government ahead of the social-care Green Paper. The status quo is no longer an option; ministers must be bold in ensuring sustainable financial reform. With care services and the NHS interdependent investing in one but not the other is financially irresponsible.
“Above all, social care must continue to stay a local service and ministers should not be swayed by overly-simplistic arguments to combine all, or elements of social care within the NHS. The challenges local government has faced in delivering balanced budgets whilst ensuring that those most in need receive high-quality care must not be underestimated – without the leadership and innovation shown at a local level, the present situation could have been a lot worse.”
The report say counties face a £1.6bn social care funding gap in 2020/21 with the average county authority spending 45% of its budget on the sector.
It highlights that a £50,000 cap on care would cost local authorities an additional £691m, double the amount needed for the previously suggested £72,000 cap.
County leaders suggest the cap could be funded by national taxation, a social care levy and means-testing of winter fuel allowance and attendance allowance to avoid “catastrophic consequences” for local services.