SOCIAL CARE ‘COLLAPSE’! – warning to Chancellor Osborne and Hunt

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NURSING homes will close and support for elderly and disabled people will be withdrawn due to the massive social care funding crisis, leaders in the sector warned in a letter to Chancellor Osborne and Health Secretary Hunt yesterday.

Osborne announced in his spending review last month that his new funding programme would lead to an above-inflation rise in care budgets, but council chiefs, NHS managers and care bosses refute this. The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (Adass), the Care Provider Alliance, the Care and Support Alliance and the NHS Confederation, wrote that Osborne’s settlement ‘is not sufficient to resolve the care funding crisis’.

‘Ultimately the package put forward for social care will not enable us to fill the current gap in funding, cover additional costs associated with the introduction of the National Living Wage, nor fully meet future growth in demand due to our ageing population,’ they wrote.

In the letter, the groups ask what has happened to the £6bn the government said in July it would save by postponing introducing a cap on individual care costs to 2020. Osborne also claimed he was protecting social care budgets by allowing local authorities to raise council tax by 2% and increasing the amount of money available for the Better Care Fund, but those involved in providing care services refute this.

Adass president Ray James warned: ‘Councils have tried to prioritise funding for social care ahead of other services. But its ability to do that seems to have come to an end, so I think we will struggle to put much more into social care. If that happens, services will be put at risk. We have an ageing population which is increasing demand and have to cope with the introduction of the National Living Wage. Without action, we will see care homes close and vulnerable people not getting care.’

Vicky McDermott, chairwoman of the Care and Support Alliance, said: ‘There is just not enough money and it’s not being funded quickly enough, so actually what we’re likely to see next year is a real-terms cut in funding for those vulnerable people.’