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Government's extra £150m for social care is 'sticking plaster over gaping wound'

Article By: Sue Learner

The Government has announced an extra £150m for social care which ‘will be allocated according to relative needs’.

Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, Sajid Javid

However social care chiefs have said it "is not going to make a great deal of difference" and have criticised the extra injection of cash as a "sticking plaster over a gaping wound".

Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, Sajid Javid, has made the extra money available following publication of the Local Government Finance Settlement for 2018 to 2019.

In a statement to Parliament, he said: “I recognise the need to prioritise spending on social care services that councils provide to our elderly and vulnerable citizens. This is why we announced an additional £2 billion at Spring Budget 2017 for adult social care over the three years from 2017-18. This year we have seen how this money has enabled councils to increase provider fees, provide for more care packages and reduce delayed transfer of care.

“And, having listening to representations since the provisional settlement, I am today announcing a further £150 million in 2018-19 for an Adult Social Care Support Grant. This will be taken from anticipated underspend in existing departmental budgets, and will not affect existing revenue commitments made to local government. This will be allocated according to relative needs and we will expect to see councils use it to build on their progress so far in supporting sustainable local care markets.”

Margaret Willcox, president of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS), called all money “welcome” and said: “We will make the most of what we get, but considering councils need more than £2bn just to stand still in 2018-19, this is not going to make a great deal of difference.

“It also depends on what they define as relative need. Will it be spent in areas struggling with delayed transfers of care? Or will other factors come into consideration?

“Instead of trying to place a sticking plaster over a gaping wound, the Government should deliver the long-term, sustainable funding that social care teams across the country are crying out for. The upcoming social care green paper must deliver this, but in the interim, today’s measures are simply not enough - much more emergency funding is required.”

In response to the announcement, Lord Porter, chairman of the Local Government Association, called the extra funding “recognition of the LGA’s warning about the urgent need for the Government to further try and help councils tackle some of the immediate social care pressures they face”.

However he warned: “The additional one-off social care funding announced today is a temporary measure and needs to be compared against an annual social care funding gap of £2.3 billion by 2020.

“Councils in England face an overall funding gap that will exceed £5 billion by 2020. We remain clear that the Government needs to allow local government to keep every penny of business rates collected to plug this growing funding gap and provide the £1.3 billion needed right now to stabilise the care provider market.”

The Green Paper due to be published in the summer will set out the Government’s proposals for reforming the social care system.


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