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Call for national debate on adult social care

Local councils have called for a national debabe on how to pay for adult social care and rescue services for older and disabled people from collapse.

The Local Government Association said years of significant underfunding of councils, rising demand and costs, had combined to push adult social care services to breaking point.

Increased spend on adult social care – which now accounts for nearly 40% of total council budgets - was threatening the future of other vital council services, it said.

These included parks, leisure centres and libraries, which help to keep people well and from needing care and support and hospital treatment.

The LGA has launched an eight-week consultation setting out options for how the system could be improved and radical measures to be considered given the scale of the funding crisis.

Called The Lives We Want to Live, the LGA's green paper can be read here.

Possible solutions to paying for adult social care in the long-term 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 - charging the over-40s and working pensioners an earmarked contribution
  • 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 1 per cent rise would generate £285 million in 2024/25
  • The LGA said the consultation was the biggest it had ever launched.

The LGA is seeking the views of people and organisations from across society on how best to pay for care and support for adults of all ages and their unpaid carers.

It said it would respond to the findings in the autumn to inform and influence the Government’s green paper and spending plans.

Izzi Seccombe, who chairs the LGA’s community wellbeing board, said: “People have a right to live the life they want to lead and high quality adult social care and support plays an essential role in this.

“It is also vital to society. It strengthens communities, reduces pressures on the NHS, supports around 1.5 million jobs and contributes as much as £46 billion to the UK economy.

“But work to find 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.”

This had brought services to breaking point, creating a deeply uncertain and worrying future outlook for people who use adult social care services.
Councillor Seccombe said: “We cannot duck this issue as a society any longer.”

She added: “Adult social care and support matters. We must fund it for the long-term so that people of all ages can be supported to live the life they want to live.”

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