Councils to show united front on care crisis

Holding hands
Published on Friday, 26 October 2012 09:55
Posted by Vicki Mitchem

Councils will be urged to stand together and demand action from the Treasury over the funding crisis facing adult social care, at a summit of sector experts today.

The Local Government Association, which represents more than 370 councils in England and Wales, is calling on the leader of every major council across the country to "show a united and strong local government voice" on the key issue of how care and support for the elderly will be funded.

The move is part of the LGA's new 'Show us you Care' campaign which warns that without urgent action to tackle the growing and immediate crisis the money available by 2020 to fund council services like road maintenance, libraries and leisure centres will have shrunk by 90 per cent in cash terms.

This is because the rapidly rising cost of providing adult social care, combined with the growing cost of delivering councils' other explicit statutory responsibilities like social services, waste collection and concessionary travel, will soak up almost all of council spending.

As part of the campaign, local authorities are being asked to write to the Chancellor to ask him to take heed and address the funding issue now, rather than postponing it until the Comprehensive Spending Review, which could be as late as 2016.

It comes as council leaders, councillors, directors of adult services, and other sector experts come together this week at the country's largest national conference on adult social services.

Sir Merrick Cockell, Chairman of the LGA, said: "We are committed to pressing for urgent action on the funding crisis facing how we provide adult social care. We would now urge councils to work with us to demonstrate a strong and united local government voice and help shape this crucial debate.

"By the end of the decade councils may be forced to wind down some of the most popular services they provide unless urgent action is taken to address the crisis in adult social care funding.

"Efficiency savings won't go close to solving this problem and national politicians can't put it off for a further four years. We need an immediate injection of money into the adult care system to meet rising demand in the short term, alongside a major revision of the way it is paid for and delivered in future.

"Local government is best placed to ensure care is provided in a way which offers dignity to the individual and value for money for the taxpayer. It has to be in a position to do that while also delivering the other services local people expect."

The campaign builds on the commitment from the LGA, SOLACE and ADASS to work together to inform and shape the debate around adult social care in the context of a rapidly ageing population, reduced budgets and rising expectations.

Campaign packs, containing a guide and public relations materials for council leaders and chief executives, will be issued to the 152 local authorities responsible for providing adult social care in England.

The guide sets out how the current position in the debate has been reached, the main features of the recent care and support white paper, the key issues for councils, and what the LGA will be doing moving forward.

Source: ©LGA

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