Care for the elderly will collapse without more cash. Unless there is more funding to plug a £2.6 billion gap in the cost of social care for pensioner’s councils will find it impossible to fulfil their legal duties under the new Care Act which was passed in 2014. The intentions and spirit of the act are in grave danger of falling apart unless new funding is announced fast.
Despite the tremendous contribution our oldest have made over many years to our society as citizens, workers, parents and grandparents, when they in turn come to need some extra support many are effectively abandoned by a social care system that is demonstrably unable to cope.
Age UK found that 926,000 of those aged 80 or older in England have difficulty with at least one activity of daily living. Tasks like washing, eating, getting out of bed, and dressing and going to the toilet. Some receive some limited help but not that fully meets their needs. Astonishingly this means that 1 in 3 of the entire over 80 population have elements of care needs unmet.
Behind these statistics are the people themselves, some have no family or have outlived their nearest relative. The list of difficulties can be a long one, and the physical and mental health and wellbeing of those in need can seriously suffer.
In this day and age older people should be allowed to live well, and the correct support can enable them to do this with dignity.
There is a silent disgrace going on behind closed doors and it needs to stop. More funding must be a priority for this Government. Local councils have had to endure severe budget cuts, and that directly equates to older peoples care being affected.
How long will it be before the crisis spirals completely out of control? We have known for decades that we have an increasingly ageing population. We also know that many of Britain’s care homes are not fit for purpose.
Britain continues to spend £13 billion on foreign aid while its own pensioners risk neglect and a lack of basic care needs being met. It is a scandal that a country as rich as ours has let such a state of affairs come to pass.
We urge the Government to intervene, enough is enough and our members feel very strongly about this social health crisis.
Reply from: Rory Howard – Ministerial Correspondence and Public Enquiries
Thank you for your letter to Jeremy Hunt about social care and older people. I have been asked to reply.
I appreciate your concerns about funding for social care.
The Government recognises that there are real pressures in the care system, which is why it has taken steps to protect social care services.
On 8 March, the Government committed to provide an additional £2 billion of grant funding for social care in England over the next three years, with £1 billion available in 2017/8.
This means local authorities will have access to up to £9.25 billion of new support for social care by 2019/20, so they can increase social care spending in real terms each year for the next three years. Since April 2016, councils have been able to introduce a Social Care Precept, allowing them to increase council tax by two percent above the existing threshold. 95 percent of councils made use of this precept, which raised £383 million in 2016/7.
This year, local authorities will be able to use the precept by up to three percent, and three percent the year after, but by no more than six percent over the next three years. This could raise £200 million in additional funding for adult social care in 2017/18 and over 400 million in 2018/19. In addition, social care funds are being made available to local Government through the Better Care Fund. These funds become available in April, and will rise to £1.5 billion by 2019/20.
Nonetheless, ministers recognise that further reform is required to ensure the stem is prepared to meet the challenges of providing a balanced package that supports quality and dignified care, as well as financial sustainability, for future generations.
The Government set out its aim to improve social care in the Queens speech, and is committed to publishing a Green Paper in Summer 2018, setting out its proposals for reform. In developing a Green paper, the Government will debate the many complex issues, and listen to the perspectives of experts and care users. This work will be coordinated by the Cabinet Office.
Ministers have asked a range of independent experts in this area to provide their views, and want to engage closely with key stakeholders, people who use services and carers over coming months. Once the Green Paper is published, it will be subject to a full public consultation, which I would encourage you to take part in.
The Government want a better care system that everyone can have confidence in, where people understand their responsibilities, can prepare for the future, and know that the care they receive will be to a high standard and help them maintain their independence and wellbeing.