Council leaders’ call to boost social care funding

File photo of an elderly woman's hands. Yui Mok/PA Wire
File photo of an elderly woman's hands. Yui Mok/PA Wire

A growing number of people in need of social care could be left stranded in hospitals because of “continued underfunding”, council leaders have warned.

Meanwhile, the number of people who had “unmet basic needs”, such as getting washed, dressed or getting out of bed, could also rise, the Local Government Association (LGA) said.

The intentions and the spirit of the Care Act that aims to help people to live well and independently are in grave danger of falling apart and failing

Izzi Seccombe

Those who got care could face shorter visits from strained carers, it added. The comments came as the LGA, which represents 370 councils across England and Wales, warned that the Government’s Care Act was doomed to fail unless more money was allocated to the social care sector.

Wigan Council is currently deliberating on a hike in the council tax to meet soaring social care costs.

The LGA said “continued underfunding of social care is making it impossible for local authorities to fulfil their legal duties under the Care Act”. This could leave the system “on the brink of failing altogether and councils facing the prospect of court challenges”.

In its submission to the Treasury ahead of the Budget, the LGA said that if new money was not ploughed into the social care sector then ministers needed to be “honest and up front” with the public about the level of care that could be provided.

Izzi Seccombe, chairwoman of the LGA’s Community Wellbeing Board, said: “The intentions and the spirit of the Care Act that aims to help people to live well and independently are in grave danger of falling apart and failing, unless new funding is announced by government for adult social care.”

A Government spokeswoman said: “Local authorities have a duty to implement new rights introduced in the Care Act and, while many are already providing high-quality social care services, we will continue to challenge and support those not currently doing so. We have provided councils with up to £7.6bn of dedicated funding for social care over the course of this parliament - significant investment to ensure that vulnerable people get affordable and dignified care as our population ages.”