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Government announces £1.4bn funding towards a fair cost of care

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The government is to provide £1.4bn over the next three years to help local authorities move towards a fair cost of care.

In a new policy paper published yesterday the government provided detail on the funding available to help local authorities pay for reforms in 2022-23.

The £1.4bn forms part of the £3.6bn confirmed at the Spending Review 2021 to implement charging reform.

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Of this, £162m will be allocated in 2022-23 to help local authorities prepare for reform with a further £600m made available in both 2023-24 and 2024-25.

The proposals are funded by the new Health and Care Levy announced in September, of which £5.4bn is being invested in adult social care over the next three years.

Vic Rayner OBE, CEO of the National Care Forum, said: “The fair price for care cost exercises outlined in the statement are important and need to be done well, with an inclusive, open and transparent approach to recognising the full costs of high quality care.

“It is essential that this exercise is not simple tick box exercises. Local authorities must take the opportunity to work collaboratively with their social care providers to reset the dial on the fees they pay, and reach an honest and mutual agreement about a fully funded fair price for care that delivers high quality and accessible care for all who need it.”

Vic expressed concern that the DHSC had already estimated its funding for the next three years to address cross-subsidies and a move to a fully funded fair price for care, highlighting that other estimates had arrived at a figure closer to £7bn a year.

“The funding required to achieve this must be urgently reviewed in light of the outcome of the fair price for care cost exercises – not set before they are even carried out!” Vic said.

The NCF CEO said more detail was needed on how self-funders will be able to secure better value results for their care through their local authority.

ICG Chair Mike Padgham said: “Here we have in black and white a clear admission that care is not being properly funded on the front line.

“Local authorities will themselves argue that they are not getting enough funding to commission care, so it is vital that both sides address the issue.

“Sadly, what the Government is proposing to inject into social care is nowhere near enough to address the issues.

“The people who are suffering are the 1.5m who can’t get the care they need and care providers who are struggling to survive in the COVID-19 landscape.”

Cllr Martin Tett, Adult Social Care Spokesperson for the County Councils Network, also expressed concern that the £1.4bn for the proposals would not be sufficient.

“We estimate that the move to allow more private care users to access lower local authority rates is likely to cost up to £761m per year in county areas alone and this excludes homecare,” Cllr Tett said.

 

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The author Lee Peart

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