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LGA - £650 Million care reduction risks elderly having to sell homes

Elderly and disabled people may face a greater threat of having to sell their homes to pay for care if government goes ahead with plans to reduce funding set aside for vital reforms of the care system by £650 million.

The warning comes from the Local Government Association (LGA) following data published by the Government revising down the funding it will give to councils for Care Act reforms aimed at protecting people from having to sell their homes to pay for care.

In April 2013 government committed to provide £5.6 billion to councils between April 2016 and March 2021 to implement the reforms. New figures published by the Department of Health show government has now reduced this five-year commitment by £650 million – a reduction of almost 12 per cent.

This has raised serious concerns that local authorities could be left unable to deliver the Government's aim of protecting people from being forced to cash in their homes.

The LGA is warning the Government that if the funding is not sufficient additional money must be made available. It will be working with the Department of Health in the coming weeks to understand the new figures, and the reasons for the reductions, in more detail.

Cllr Izzi Seccombe, Chairman of the LGA's Community Wellbeing Board, said:

"The last thing anyone wants to see is people being forced to sell their family homes, which we hope will not result from these latest calculations.

"This is another potential pressure at a time when councils are already under such strain from challenging cuts that could see services tip into failure. We are already having to divert funding from other services to fund social care. 

"We are keen to work with the Government to ensure there is enough money for a care system which does not force people to sell their homes to pay for care and have supported this principle since the Dilnot Commission recommended it. But we are very concerned that this looks to be a short-sighted view against the backdrop of a care system which is already chronically underfunded.

"The Care Act is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to improve the lives of the most vulnerable people who rely on care and support and protect people from huge care costs. We have recognised the importance of these reforms since before the Care Bill was first introduced. It would be an absolute tragedy if insufficient funding jeopardised these desperately needed changes."

Notes to editors:

  1. The Government's revised costings for the reforms are now £650 million less than its costings from April 2013. This £650 million will be taken out of the £5.6billion costs set aside to implement the reforms from April 2016 to March 2021, a reduction of almost 12 per cent.
  2. The Local Government Association agrees with the principle of protecting people from huge care costs by capping the maximum they have to pay for care. But in an already chronically underfunded care system, it is vital that this is properly funded or this will become another potential pressure in a system which is already buckling under the strain of increasing demand and reduced resources.
  3. Councils have already warned that the first phase of the Care Act reforms, which comes into effect in April this year, could be underfunded by at least £50 million in the first year.
  4. Recent LGA analysis revealed that councils with social care responsibility will have to spend as much as 40 per cent of overall budgets on services that care for older and vulnerable people by 2020, rising 13 per cent faster than any other service provided to local residents.

Contact

Victoria Daly, Senior Media Officer
Local Government Association
Telephone: 020 7664 3308
Email: victoria.daly@local.gov.uk
Media Office (out-of-hours contact): 020 7664 3333
Local Government House, Smith Square, London SW1P 3HZ

Channel website: https://www.icaew.com

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