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Social care funding crisis will worsen, UNISON tells Government inquiry

10 August 2016

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The crisis in adult social care is set to worsen due to a growing funding gap, UNISON has told the Communities and Local Government Committee.

UNISON said the funding shortfall will get worse, and the move to allow councils in England to add an extra 2% to annual council tax bills to raise money for adult social care is not enough.

The union pointed out that councils still face significant shortfalls in their budgets for social care, and that commentators have suggested the tax is not a sustainable move.

The Communities and Local Government Committee launched an inquiry in June into the financial sustainability of adult social care and the quality of the care provided.

The inquiry is looking into whether the funding available for adult social care is sufficient for local authorities to fulfil their statutory obligations to assess and meet the needs of people requiring care and support.

In evidence given to the inquiry, UNISON also highlighted the impact of financial pressures on social care workers.

As well as service users, care workers also bear the brunt of the lack of certainty around funding as more than 300,000 workers are pushed into zero hour contracts in England alone.

The union argued that many local authorities do not pay care providers enough to deliver appropriate care packages.

Furthermore, the vast majority of councils in England are still commissioning 15-minute homecare visits, despite National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines advising against them.

Commenting on the inquiry at its launch in June, Clive Betts MP, committee chair, said: “Adult Social Care provides a lifeline to some of the most vulnerable people in society but is coming under increasing pressure as a result of growing demand and declining local authority budgets.

“Our inquiry will look at the financial sustainability of this care and support to see what can be done to allow councils to continue to meet their legal obligations for future generations.”

Written submissions are due to the committee by 19 August 2016.