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Social care should receive greater funding - LGA poll

Two thirds of people believe a greater share of the total health budget should be spent on care for the elderly and disabled provided by councils, according to a new national public poll published today by the Local Government Association.

Just 11 per cent of the £129 billion health and care budget is spent by councils on adult social care, with the remainder on health services.

The poll, carried out by Populus Data Solutions for the LGA, reveals nearly two thirds of respondents (62 per cent) think adult social care services should receive a much higher proportion of health and care funding.

The LGA, which represents more than 370 councils in England and Wales, says the only way to deal with the significant pressures facing both adult social care and the NHS is to invest more in services that help to keep people out of hospital and to stay in their communities, which is what the vast majority of people want.

This is at a time when record numbers of people find themselves unable to leave hospital due to a lack of care in the community and increasing numbers of people unable to get care are having to turn to stretched A&E departments instead.

The LGA says there is also a need to raise national awareness of the importance of adult social care services.

It comes as the poll, published in the LGA's new 'State of the Nation' report on the adult social care funding crisis launched yesterday at the National Children and Adult Services Conference (NCAS) in Manchester, reveals many people underestimate the scale of the problem.

Councils spend approximately 35 per cent of their budgets on adult social care and are increasingly having to divert money away from other cherished local services, such as bus routes, leisure centres, and road repairs, to plug gaps.

Yet more than three quarters of respondents to the LGA's poll think councils spend a much smaller proportion of their budgets on adult social care.

Sixty per cent of people polled also thought adult social care already received a higher proportion of the total health and care budget than 11 per cent.

The findings follow new analysis by the LGA which estimates adult social care services face a potential funding gap of at least £2.6 billion.

In its Autumn Statement submission, the LGA says based on "fair price of care" calculations by provider organisations, the immediate pressures threatening the stability of the care provider market could amount to at least £1.3 billion.

On top of that, councils also estimate that by 2019/20, a further £1.3 billion will be required to deal with the additional pressures brought about by an ageing population, inflation, and the cost of paying the National Living Wage.

'State of the Nation' is a collection of essays from senior sector leaders and experts which sets out the scale of underfunding in adult social care, and the consequences this is having on people, providers and workers and the NHS.

In a keynote speech at the NCAS conference today, Senior Vice Chair of the LGA, Cllr Nick Forbes, said:

"Councils, care providers, charities and the NHS are all united around the need for central government to fully fund adult social care, and as our poll reveals, so are the public.

"As a nation we urgently need to recognise the importance of adult social care. We need to shift perceptions and make adult social care just as important in the public eye and within government as the NHS. This is why we are calling for a national movement to raise awareness of what social care is and why it matters.

"It is adult social care which provides invaluable support for the elderly, disabled and some of the most vulnerable people in society. It is that support that keeps people out of hospital and living independent, dignified lives at home and in the community and alleviates the pressure on the NHS.

"Councils have long-argued that it is a false economy to pump money into the NHS but leave social care so chronically underfunded. The Government must use the Autumn Statement to provide councils with the funding to ensure we have a fair care system where everybody can receive safe, high-quality care and support."

Notes to editors

Populus Data Solutions survey. A total of 1,785 people were polled.

  • One of the services councils are responsible for providing is adult social care, which includes caring for the elderly and the disabled. Approximately what proportion of an average council's budget do you think is spent on adult social care?

15% – answered by 52 per cent of respondents; 25% – answered by 29 per cent; 35% – answered by 16 per cent; 45% – answered by 4 per cent

  • In England, councils and central government spend a combined £129 billion on health services and adult social care services. What percentage of this do you think is spent on adult social care?

11% – answered by 40 per cent of respondents; 22% – answered by 37 per cent; 33% – answered by 18 per cent; 44% – answered by 5 per cent

  • Eleven per cent of the total health and care budget is spent on adult social care. Do you think it should receive a higher proportion of this, a lower proportion, or do you think the proportion is about right?

Adult social care should receive more – answered by 62 per cent; About right – 31 per cent; Adult social care should receive less – 6 per cent

LGA Autumn Statement submission

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