Social care: Sajid Javid defends social care measures

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About £19.7bn will be spent on social care in England this year

The government has defended new measures aimed at boosting funding for social care in England.

Local authorities have been told they can bring forward council tax rises to cover costs over the next two years.

Communities Secretary Sajid Javid also told MPs £240m cut from the New Homes Bonus, which rewards councils for building new homes, would be spent on adult social care next year.

Labour said no new money was being offered to tackle the “crisis”.

Mr Javid unveiled the measures as he set out the local government finance settlement in the Commons.

He said the settlement, which governs how councils in England will be funded, “recognises the cost of delivering adult social care and makes more funding available sooner”.

Campaigners have been calling for investment to be brought forward to tackle what they say is a funding crisis in services for the elderly and disabled.

On Wednesday, it emerged the government would offer councils an increase in the extra council tax they can impose to cover social care costs.

This was confirmed by Mr Javid, who said local authorities would be permitted to increase council tax by up to 6% over two years, ringfenced for social care, with a maximum of 3% each year.

The 6% previously had to be spread over three years. A 1% increase would raise an estimated £200m.

Mr Javid said the measure, when added to the £240m taken from the New Homes Bonus, would mean £900m extra for local authorities over the next two years to fund social care services.

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In total, about £19.7bn will be spent on social care in England this year.

Mr Javid added that more money was “not the only answer”, saying some councils needed to work harder to reduce delays in discharging people from hospital beds caused by a lack of available social care.

Responding to Mr Javid, shadow communities and local government minister Gareth Thomas said the local government settlement would “leave people paying high taxes for worse public services”.

He urged the government to reconsider a planned corporation tax cut to plug the social care funding gap.

Conservative MP Sarah Wollaston, who chairs the Commons Health Select Committee, welcomed the government measures but said they did not go far enough to address the increase in demand, urging ministers to start cross party talks “urgently”.

Former health minister and Lib Dem MP Norman Lamb, who has been calling for more investment in adult social care, described Mr Javid’s statement as “feeble”.

Find out the cost of care in your area

Home care

What is home care?

You stay in your own home while getting help with everyday tasks such as washing, dressing and eating.

How your council helps with care

average amount of care provided per week, by your council

average paid per hour by your council, 2014-15

average paid per hour in your region if you pay for your own care, 2016

Residential care

What is residential care?

You live in a care home that provides round-the-clock support with everyday tasks.

How your council helps with care

Average contribution per week

Paying for yourself

TBC pay for their own care

Nursing home care

What is nursing home care?

You live in a care home which provides round-the-clock support for everyday tasks and nursing care. Depending on your medical needs, the NHS may contribute to your costs.

How your council helps with care

Average contribution per week

Paying for yourself

TBC pay for their own care

Who gets help?

How is your contribution decided?

Your home

Savings, investments and income are assessed, along with the value of your home – unless you or a close relative live there.

Will I have anything left?

Want to know more?

But the government says it is investing in social care through its Better Care Fund, as well as taking steps to more closely integrate health and social care provision.

Council tax accounts for only about half of local authority income – the rest coming from central grants, which are being cut, and business rates, which are volatile – so it is unclear by how much care budgets will rise.

Media captionJill Colbert and Ray James tell Today there is a need for increased funding for elderly care.

The Local Government Association says it is committed to reducing delays in discharging patients from hospitals and allowing people to be looked after at home but warned the system is at “breaking point” due to budget cuts.

The numbers of elderly people going without care, paying for it themselves or relying on family and friends currently outstrip those getting council help by four to one.

The head of the NHS in England has suggested free bus passes and pension benefits for older people may have to be reconsidered to address the problems facing social care.

Appearing before MPs on Thursday, Simon Stevens said a sweeping new “social contract” was needed setting out the “full range of services and needs that people have in retirement”, predicated on the right for people to receive care in their homes.

“There is no point in saying to our parents ‘yes you’ve got a free bus pass if you’re not able to leave the house because you don’t have the availability of a home help,” he said.

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