SOCIAL CARE PRECEPT: More reaction

Tim Hammond

More care home leaders and other stakeholders have given their reaction to the government’s announcement that it is to bring forward money for the sector through the social care precept.

The government announced yesterday that it was giving local authorities the option to increase the social care precept to 6% over the next two years for ring fenced care spending (see NEWSFLASH: Mixed response to social care precept changes).

Tim Hammond, CEO of Four Seasons, (pictured) said it was “welcome news” that the government had recognised serious underfunding of social care.

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“Over 90% of councils raised a precept in the first year, although of those councils in England who commission our services only about half agreed a fee increase that fully recognised the additional costs of the National Living Wage. That said, if all councils were to raise a precept and pass it on to providers, it would not begin to address the under-funding over the past three or four years that has seen a 5% real-terms decline in the fees for publicly-funded placements in care homes,” Tim said.

Mario Ambrosi, Anchor’s head of policy and communications, also welcomed the shift in government policy adding, however, that it did not go anywhere near far enough to ensuring older people were supported.

“We are also concerned that people in the greatest financial difficulty could be those most likely to face a council tax hike to pay for their care. Government must now use this as a first step towards a comprehensive review of the way care is funded,” Mario added.

Andrew Long, managing director of Oakdale Care Group, told us: “Unless there are statutory directives that prove the additional money raised goes directly into each local authorities social care budget then there is no guarantee it will get used as intended.”

Professor Martin Green, CEO of Care England, said: “While any new money to social care is of course welcome, the government must understand that this is only an interim measure, and is a figure below that which the sector believes is necessary. The government must look to work urgently with the social care sector to create a better system for the long term, which delivers the care citizens should be able to expect in the 21st century.”

The response from other stakeholders was largely negative.

Ray James, immediate past president of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, said the amount brought forward was over £1bn less than what was needed next year alone and would raise less in areas of greatest need.

Ben Franklin, head of economics at ILC-UK said the Government’s announcement was about “spin not substance”.

Local Government Association chairman Lord Porter said an “urgent injection of genuinely new additional government funding” was needed, while Max Weidl, Director in Christie & Co’s Care Consultancy team, said the government needed to develop a care funding solution “independent of local funding constraints”.

 

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