Care England, the largest and most diverse representative body for independent providers of adult social care, has revealed, in a Channel 4 News exclusive, that the government is underfunding adult social care to the tune of £1.5 billion per annum before even addressing workforce recruitment and retention, an ageing population and inflation.
Professor Martin Green OBE, Chief Executive of Care England, says:
“Despite government promises of £7.5bn in the 2022 Autumn Statement, this will not meet the fair cost of care, with a £1.5 billion deficit still remaining. Local Authorities have had their funding cut by central government, leading to underfunded care packages, and a rising gap between fees paid and the cost of care caused by inflation. It’s not just the care sector that will feel the impact of this funding gap – society as a whole will too. Without paying the fair cost of care, providers are forced to exit the market, leaving vulnerable people across the country without the proper support. The fair cost of care must be paid for the sustainability of social care, and for the wellbeing of those who rely on support from the sector and their families.”
Care England has conducted an analysis of the Fair Cost of Care exercise. We found that as of March 2023, the average difference nationally between what a Local Authority pays for residential care fees and the Fair Cost of Care was £196 per week, whilst this figure is £178 per week for nursing care.
Martin Green continues:
“Social care has been calling for fair funding for years. Although there is evidence to suggest we are moving towards a fairer cost of care, we are by no means at a fair cost of care. The sector remains in a precarious position – the majority of Directors of Adult Social Care Services do not feel they are able to deliver the right care in the right place at the right time. Years of central government underfunding is having a material impact on providers, local government, and people who draw on care and support. The social care sector is still in vital need of significant investment from the government. An investment in closing the funding gap isn’t just an investment into the social care market, it’s an investment in the people who live in, visit and work in social care provision. This figure demonstrates that the promise to fix social care has been broken. Political parties of all stripes must recognise the importance of high-quality social care to the wellbeing of the NHS, the economy and society as a whole.”