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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries

Calls for ‘urgent’ review of inadequate social care funding

Inadequate government funding has resulted in councils providing fewer people with social care, and a deterioration in the overall quality of the service, according to a select committee report.

There are "ever-increasing demographic pressures on the system" ©Shutterstock
There are "ever-increasing demographic pressures on the system" ©Shutterstock

This is expected to continue, pushing many councils to the brink of financial viability, with some having to rely on privately paying clients to subsidise the care of others.

The report argues that an urgent review of the system is required to establish how it will be funded in the long-term, while expenditure on care will need to rise as a proportion of total public spending.

Committee chair, Clive Betts, 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.

“It is clear there are 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.

“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.”

The chancellor recently announced a £2bn commitment to social care over the next three years in his spring budget, however this falls short of what is required, according to the report.

It reveals that councils are increasingly taking a ‘price first, quality second approach’ in their commissioning of social care, with some paying as little as £2.24 an hour for the service.

In addition, it was found that fewer than one in twelve directors of social care provision are fully confident that their local authority will be able to meet its statutory duties in 2017-18.

“This review must be ambitious and consider a wide range of potential funding sources, looking again at age-related expenditure, options such as a hypothecated tax for social care, a compulsory insurance scheme, and differences in how individuals contribute,” Betts continued.

“It must take a wide look at what we will spend this money on in the future – on support, on preventative care and intervention, on the care workforce – and ensure that care users are at the centre of how care is organised and that they get the assistance they deserve."

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