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Review on the future of social care funding by next Government desperately needed

The Government needs to urgently review how social care is funded in the long term and address serious threats to social care provision, a committee of MPs says.

The report, by the Communities and Local Government Committee, finds inadequate funding very seriously affecting the quantity and quality of adult social care provision, impacting on those receiving care, the NHS, care staff, carers and providers.

While the report welcomes the Chancellor’s commitment to provide an additional £2bn for social care over the next three years, and a proposed Green Paper on the sector’s future, it says this falls short of the amount required to close the social care funding gap.

The Committee believes expenditure on adult social care will need to rise as a proportion of total public expenditure and recommends an urgent review of how to fund social care in the long-term.

The report looks at a range of possible revenue options including hypothecating national taxation (e.g. income tax or a compulsory new social insurance scheme) and age-related expenditure (e.g. state pension, winter fuel allowance).

In doing so, the Committee recommends the Green Paper also consider the wide range of uses for which social care funding is required including care and support, early intervention and prevention, and the training and development of care staff.

Clive Betts, Chair of the Communities and Local Government Committee, said: “During our inquiry we heard mounting concerns about the serious impact which inadequate funding is having both on the quality and on the level of care which people receive.

“We heard compelling evidence of acute threats to care providers’ financial viability and an increasing reliance on unpaid carers. It is clear there are also severe challenges in the care workforce, with high vacancy and turnover rates, and low pay, poor employment terms and conditions, lack of training and inadequate career opportunities the norm across the sector.”

Betts added: “A long-term fix, working on a cross-party basis and involving the public and social care sector, is urgently necessary to meet the ever-increasing demographic pressures on the system. This review must be ambitious and consider a wide range of potential funding sources.”

The committee found that fewer than one in twelve Directors of Social Care are fully confident that their local authority will be able to meet its statutory duties in 2017–18.

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