We have been fighting for fairer funding so more money for social care is welcome news
Column by Councillor Martin Hill, leader of Lincolnshire County Council
For many years now at the county council, we have been highlighting the need for a fairer funding settlement from the Government to help fund local services.
In particular, the rise in demand and costs of providing adult social care has long needed addressing as it also has a direct influence on NHS delivery.
So the announcement by the Government last week to commit to providing more money at a national level for social care is welcome news.
This is not an easy issue to solve – demonstrated by the length of time we have waited for progress on the issue and it is a concern that there could be a delay for this extra money to arrive for social care. Hopefully this will be addressed by the Chancellor in his budget statement next month.
Social care, which supports the adults with non-clinical care, as they become older, unwell or less mobile, and those with disabilities, must be fairly and sustainably funded.
Because it’s an incredibly important issue, it’s vital we work with the government and feedback on their proposals to get it right. Making sure that adults in need get the support they need is a key responsibility for the county council - the current proposals and missing details are a concern for the long term.
The Prime Minister is proposing to increase National Insurance to pay for NHS and care services, and that new asset thresholds should be set to determine how much people pay. He also outlined a cap on how much people would have to spend in their lifetime. It is important to note that this will not apply to accommodation costs, which is typically about half the usual cost.
While it’s right that additional money is committed, and raised at a national level, rather than through local council tax increases, there is already a significant budget shortfall for adult care funding. The detail of how funding will be allocated and sustained needs to be clarified, and more thought should be given to on-going cost increases and demand.
Combining funding for NHS and social care may be a step towards helping these two areas integrate, however the services offered by local government and local NHS organisations, and how they are paid for, are very different.
Some people face enormous costs for their care, but in order to limit household financial liability even more money will inevitably have to be allocated from taxpayers.
This government has my full backing in their determination to reform the social care system in this country. And you have my commitment to representing your views to make it work for Lincolnshire residents.