74.The funding commitments in the 2015 Spending Review and the 2017–18 Provisional Local Government Finance Settlement were a welcome acknowledgement by the Government of the financial pressures facing the sector. However, the £7.6 billion the Government has said they will generate may be somewhat optimistic because this assumes that all councils will raise the precept by the full amount each year. In the context of the pressures on social care budgets from an ageing population with increasingly complex needs, adults with learning disabilities, the introduction of the National Living Wage and new statutory responsibilities, these commitments will not be enough to secure social care’s future.
75.We look to the Chancellor to address these immediate funding difficulties in the forthcoming Budget. Whatever action is taken in the short term, there are funding, structural and other problems affecting the social care sector in the medium- and long-term, and we shall make recommendations as to how these should be addressed in our final report of this inquiry. There is also an urgent need for a review, ideally cross-party, of the provision and funding of social care in the long term. We shall consider this further in our main report from this inquiry.
3 March 2017