Government urged to act as social care ‘teetering on a precipice’

A leading social care charity has urged the government to provide additional funding for the sector, which it says is “teetering on a precipice”. 

Hft, which provides support to people with learning disabilities and their families, issued the warning after MPs on the Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Select Committee told the government that social care staff “are burnt out”.

Kirsty Matthews, the charity’s chief executive, said the committee’s report "is just the latest in a long line of publications highlighting how our vital sector is teetering on a precipice”.

She said: “It is essential that whoever becomes the next Prime Minister takes immediate action to meet the recommendations in this report, so the adult social care sector is able to weather the storm of the coming winter and continues to provide support in the years ahead to everyone who needs it.”

The report says: “Social care workers and unpaid carers are burnt out. Covid-19 has exacerbated the need for more immediate funding for the sector.” 

It recommends “the government should allocate additional funding this year through the adult social care grant, cover inflationary pressures and unmet care needs, and should announce this as soon as possible, so that local authorities can plan how to cope best with the pressures they are facing”.

Research published by Hft earlier this year said social care charities faced an average financial shortfall of £300,000 because of staff shortages and inflation. 

The MPs said public support for reforming funding of social care grew during the pandemic, but the government has missed this opportunity. 

“It has done so firstly by allocating the vast majority of the proceeds of its Health and Social Care Levy to the NHS, and secondly by, in theory, ring-fencing what little funding it has allocated to adult social care for reforms rather than for cost pressures.”

The committee said of the government’s long-term plan for adult social care: “There is no roadmap, no timetable, no milestones, and no measures of success.”

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