Government warned of £1.9bn social care funding gap

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A report by three leading charities has called on the government to address a £1.9bn social care funding gap in the Autumn Statement.

The joint statement by the Health Foundation, The King’s Fund and the Nuffield Trust follows a similar warning by the Local Government Association last month (see LGA warns of £1.3bn social care funding gap).

Pressure is piling on the government from the sector with care leaders and ADASS adding their voices to calls for more support this week (EXCLUSIVE: Care leaders call for money in Autumn Statement).

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Richard Humphries, assistant director for policy at The King’s Fund, said: “Cuts to social care funding are leaving older and disabled people reliant on an increasingly threadbare local authority safety net.

“For many, the care they get is based not on what they need but on what they can afford and where they live. More people are left stranded in hospital.

“This government has committed to creating a country which works for everyone, and they now need to match this with action by using the Autumn Statement to address the critical state of social care.”

The three charities urge the government to bring forward increases in social care funding planned for later in the Parliament through the Better Care Fund to next year, warning that otherwise thousands of older and disable people will go without care.

New NHS figures have revealed social care spending is at a six-year low (see Care spending falls to six-year low).

The three organisations warn that the planned increased in the Department of Health’s budget between 2015/16 and 2020/21 will not meet rising demand for services, maintain standards of care and deliver the changes to services set out in the NHS Five Year Forward View.

They warn that pressures on the NHS will peak in 2018/19 and 2020/21 when there is no planned growth in real terms funding.

The report says health spending in England will grow by £4.2m over this Parliament, an average rise of 1.1% per month in real terms, similar to last Parliament and much below an average 4% annual increase since the NHS was established.

Anita Charlesworth, director of research and economics at the Health Foundation, said: “On too many occasions over the last few years the approach to funding has been to rob Peter to pay Paul.

“It is absolutely clear that this is not sustainable and has undermined the drive to improve efficiency. While the pressures on the health service are very real, the case to prioritise social care funding in the Autumn Statement is compelling.”

To read the statement, click here.

 

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