Councillor Richard Watts, chairman of the LGA’s resources board, said that raising council tax has never been the answer to fixing the chronically underfunded social care system, and instead needs investment.
“This is not only good for our loved ones but is proven to alleviate pressure on the NHS,” he said. “Plugging the immediate funding gap facing adult social care and finding a genuine long-term funding solution must therefore be an urgent priority for the Government.”
Councils cannot exceed an increase of six per cent in the social care levy over the three-year period from 2017/18.
The LGA said that as a result 44 per cent of around 150 social care councils are not able to implement the additional two per cent rise.
The warning comes following an analysis of Care Quality Commission data the Independent Age charity which found that from January 2018 to January 2019, the quality of care homes has worsened by 37 per cent. This marks a further drop in performance than the previous year, which saw a 22 per cent decline.
Barbara Keeley MP, Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Minister for Social Care said that the LGA and Independent Age research comes amid “relentless” cuts to council budgets.
She added that as a result, “vulnerable older and younger disabled adults will go without the support they need to live with basic dignity”.
Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK, added: “Not only have councils exhausted other services they can reasonably be expected to cut, local social care needs are not correlated with the amounts of funding different areas are able to raise. This risks leaving older people in places like the North East, where the tax base is generally low, high & dry if they are in need of care. This is a truly frightening prospect.
“We desperately need the Government to publish a reforming Green Paper very soon, & the Spending Review, due later this year, to deliver the funding to put its measures into effect.”
A Government spokesperson said: “We are committed to ensuring everyone has access to the care and support they need and have provided local authorities with access to up to £3.6 billion more dedicated funding for adult social care this year and up to £3.9 billion for next year.”
“We will shortly set out our plans to reform the social care system for adults of all ages to ensure it is sustainable for the future.”