Barnsley Council is encouraging all residents and community groups to take part in a major national consultation by the Local Government Association into how to pay for adult social care and support for older people, working age adults with mental or physical disabilities and unpaid carers.
The LGA estimates that adult social care services face an annual funding gap of £3.5 billion by 2025.
Years of significant underfunding of councils, alongside rising demand and costs for care and support has pushed adult social care services to breaking point, it says.
More and more people are unable to receive good, reliable care, such as help with getting washed and dressed, and funding is increasingly having to be diverted from other vital council services, to plug growing adult social care funding gaps.
Cllr Margaret Bruff, Cabinet Spokesperson for People (Safeguarding) said: “This is a pressing issue for all councils, including Barnsley. A long-term sustainable financial solution is urgently needed in order for councils to be able to continue providing appropriate levels of care and support for elderly and vulnerable residents.”
The LGA’s eight-week consultation is open to all members of the public – regardless of whether they are directly affected by or receive adult social care and support – and community groups. The findings will be used to help influence the Government’s own green paper and its spending plans.
Cllr Izzi Seccombe Chairman of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board, said:
“Finding a long-term funding solution for adult social care and support has been kicked into the long grass by successive governments for the past two decades and has brought these services to breaking point.
“Our green paper is the start of a nationwide public debate about the future of care for all adults and we encourage as many people and organisations to have their say on how we pay for it and the responsibilities of national government, local councils, citizens, families and communities.”
The LGA’s green paper consultation is available here. The consultation closes on 26 September. Possible solutions to paying for adult social care in the long-term outlined in the consultation include:
- Increasing income tax for taxpayers of all ages – a 1p rise on the basic rate could raise £4.4 billion in 2024/25
- Increasing national insurance – a 1p rise could raise £10.4 billion in 2024/25
- A Social Care Premium - this would be a contribution, such as an addition to National Insurance or another mechanism, paid by employers and people over 40, including over 65s. If it was assumed everyone over 40 was able to pay the same amount (not the case under National Insurance), raising £1 billion would mean a cost of £33.40 for each person aged 40+ in 2024/25. This is a purely illustrative figure and would not be the cost to individuals if the premium was attached to National Insurance given that a person’s employment status and/or how much they earn determines the amount they contribute to National Insurance.
- Means testing universal benefits, such as winter fuel allowance and free TV licences, could raise £1.9 billion in 2024/25
- Allowing councils to increase council tax – a one per cent rise would generate £285 million in 2024/25