Hospital Dr News

Government unveils “inadequate” funding package for social care

The government aims to bail out social care services by allowing councils to raise an extra 3% from their local population this year through the council tax.

Under the plans, announced by the communities secretary Sajid Javid, councils will also be able to charge 3% extra next year to fund social care, bringing forward planned increases of 2% a year.

A typical band D council tax bill of £1,530 this year would rise by £46 next year, on top of a discretionary general increase of 2%.

Javid said there would also be a £240m “adult social care support grant” to help councils that are particularly struggling with care of older residents, which will take money from a scheme to incentivise housebuilding called the new homes bonus.

But the plan was immediately criticised for not going far enough.

Dr Eileen Burns, President of the British Geriatrics Society, said: “We are concerned that by allowing local authorities to increase council tax and to ring-fence the additional money to pay for social care, that not only does it avoid the need for a more fundamental review of social care funding, but it may in practice reinforce inequalities in health and social care.”

Javid claimed the money would add up to almost £900m for local authorities over the next two years and announced plans for a wider rethink of how to better integrate health and social care.

Professor Jane Dacre, RCP president, said: ‘The announcement for more money for social care is welcome but it does not go far enough – either in its scope or its long term support. We know that in that in the last 6 years social care budgets have shrunk by £5 billion and that this, in combination with an aging population, has had a huge impact on the NHS, leading to delayed discharges of patients and quite simply people not being treated in the right place for them.

“The underfunding of social care is one of the main contributing factors that is impacting on our NHS and it is clear that health and social care can no longer be treated as separate issues. This is a national crisis that needs national solutions, we need fundamental reform of how social  care is delivered.”

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