The Mayor of Tower Hamlets John Biggs has criticised the Chancellor for “shirking his responsibility” to tackle the social care funding crisis, and for “passing the buck” to local councils.
Rather than having a national, sustainable funding method for social care services, the Tory Government leaves councils to organise and fund the vast majority of social care services, but at the same time slashes their budgets.
Tower Hamlets Council has had to make £200m in savings since 2010, and the authority now must save a further £30m by 2024.
At the Spending Review last month the Chancellor only announced a small amount of additional funding through a social care grant, instead choosing to pass the buck on to local councils by forcing them to raise council tax in order to cover the growing cost of social care. Rather than announcing a solution to the social care funding crisis, the Chancellor told councils that they can ‘levy a 3 per cent adult social care precept’ – this precept is specifically to fund social care services for adults.
The Executive Director of the National Care Forum described the Spending Review as “a catastrophe for social care.”
A new report from the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) published this week found that social care cuts led to increase in over-65s going to A&E, with many people forced to use their local A&E as their first port of call, leaving emergency services under even greater pressure.
The IFS report also highlights that between 2009−10 and 2017−18, the mean per-person spending on social care for the over 65s fell by 31%.
Mayor of Tower Hamlets John Biggs said: “The social care funding crisis is only going to worsen each year until the Government steps in with a sustainable model for funding social care. He cannot continue to pass the buck to local councils, cut their budgets, and then blame them when council tax bills increase.
“The Chancellor had an opportunity at the Spending Review to turn this situation around, but instead chose to shirk his responsibility.”
Cllr Rachel Blake, Deputy Mayor & Cabinet Member for Adults, Health and Wellbeing, said: “Social care services are some of the most vital, frontline services in our country and they’ve played a really important role during the pandemic supporting our most vulnerable residents.
“These are services which are at the heart of our communities. The Government is treating social care with contempt, and their approach is simply unsustainable.”