Responding to the Prime Minister’s statement on finding a sustainable funding solution for social care, Cllr Danny Thorpe, London Councils’ Executive Member for Health & Care, said:
“Adult social care reform has languished on the ‘too difficult’ pile for many years, so we’re pleased to see this key policy challenge reach the top of the government’s agenda.
“Adult social care can empower individuals and help them lead active lives with dignity. The sector also plays a crucial role in relieving pressure on the NHS. And of course, social care has proved its immense value in the face of Covid-19 supporting vulnerable Londoners through extremely difficult circumstances.
“We certainly welcome the announcement of extra investment, the focus on affordability concerns, and the commitment to integrate health and social care provision. However, the Prime Minister did not unveil a wholesale solution to the social care crisis and there remain considerable uncertainties.
“For example, social care faces massive and immediate financial pressures, but the majority of the new funding announced today will go to the NHS and it’s not yet clear what support will come to councils for social care services.
“In the capital there are 150,000 Londoners – many of them of working age – receiving adult social care support, and these numbers are increasing fast. At the same time, the government has not invested enough in the sector for many years and our funding has been squeezed. Even before the impact of the pandemic, we estimate London’s adult social care sector required £400 million of funding over the next three years just to meet inflation and demand pressures.
“Boroughs will continue urging the government to ensure social care services receive the resources they require to invest in the workforce and to meet residents’ needs. The government must use the upcoming Spending Review to build on today’s announcement and put social care on a stable financial footing for the years ahead.”
Demand for adult social care is increasing rapidly in London, with the capital’s population growing particularly among groups likely to require social care.
Even though London has a generally younger population than the rest of the country, the number of Londoners aged 65 and older is expected to increase by 71% by 2039 – a faster rate than any other region in England. In the same time period, the number of Londoners aged 90 and older is set to grow by 156%.
London also has a higher proportion of people of working age needing social care provision. For example, the number of working-age Londoners with a learning disability is expected to increase by 7.8% by 2035 and with impaired mobility by 14%.
Boroughs have long argued that parity with NHS funding growth will help ensure the effectiveness of all parts of the health and care system in the face of future pressures. London Councils wants to see adult social care funding grow in line with the boosts given to the NHS.