Councils warn that lack of funds is threatening the Care Act
Reforms of the adult social care system, which are due to start in less than eight months, are causing concern for nine out of ten local authorities who have warned that lack of adequate finding could put them in jeopardy.
The reforms are designed to put people and their carers in better control of their own care whilst limiting the amount that people will pay towards the support they need. However, a survey of 152 councils found that 134 local authorities are concerned about the cost of making crucial changes to services for people in need, reports 24dash.
Councils say that uncertainty over the number of people in local areas who are paying for their own care who could now request an assessment is a major concern as without proper funding, councils may not be able to meet this additional demand.
Local authorities are warning the government that if further analysis being carried out between local government and the Department of Health in the coming weeks does uncover a funding gap, more money will be the only reasonable solution to carrying out the reforms – not delaying or making fewer changes.
Cllr Katie Hall, chair of the LGA’s community wellbeing board, said: “Councils want to help as many people who require support and care as possible, however, with only eight months to go until councils will have to start implementing these changes, the clock is ticking for Government to get the funding right so that these vital reforms do not face collapse before they have even begun. The Care Act has the potential to bring about a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to improve the lives of the most vulnerable people who rely on care and support. Some of the most vulnerable people who rely on care, their families and carers are expecting changes from April next year. Many of these people will have been anticipating the positive impact that some of these changes could have on their lives and now could be facing the very real possibility that the Government could have unfairly raised their expectations through a failure to properly fund the changes they have been waiting for. 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. In recent years, local government has worked tirelessly to save billions while protecting services for those who need them most, but we already know that the next two years will be make or break for adult social care. This additional pressure for adult social care is coming to councils at a time when local authority budgets are already under extreme pressure. So far, local authorities have managed to limit the impact on the essential care services that people rely on, but it is inevitable that services will eventually start to suffer in the face of such relentless cuts.”
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