Mayor of Tower Hamlets John Biggs and Councillor Rachel Blake, Deputy Mayor for Adults, Health and Wellbeing have written to the Secretary of State for Health asking for the Government to put forward a long-term sustainable plan for a universal social care service to meet the needs of residents.
Tower Hamlets Council approved its budget last week and it has allocated around £5million in additional funds for adult social care, which is significantly more than the permitted 1% social care precept will raise. This comes after the Council has had to save over £200million since 2010 due to over a decade of Conservative austerity, and as the Cost of Living Crisis challenges the poorest households.
Analysis of data from the Department of Health sponsored systems ‘Projecting Adult Needs and Service Information’ (PANSI) and ‘Projecting Older People Population Information’ (POPPI) systems shows that by 2025, the over 65 population in Tower Hamlets is expected to total 26,600, an increase of 23% on the 2020 population.
Tower Hamlets Council has worked hard with its partners to deliver social care services that protect the most vulnerable residents in our borough and address the complexity of their needs. However, these residents are being let down by the Government’s approach to social care and the Mayor has said the only way forward is a universal, free at the point of use, social care service.
Mayor of Tower Hamlets John Biggs said:
“The Government’s social care strategy has been to pass the buck to local councils to provide many social care services, and then blame them when council tax bills have to increase to fund the services. At the same time demand for our services, particularly social care, has increased dramatically.
“This approach cannot continue, and we are urging the Health Secretary to recognise the scale of the challenge and put forward a sustainable long term plan.”
Councillor Rachel Blake, Deputy Mayor and Cabinet Member for Adults, Health and Wellbeing said:
“The population of those residents in Tower Hamlets who are over 65 is expected to increase by 23% by 2025. Behind this number are people who need help and support so that they can thrive and live independent lives.
“We can no longer rely on stop-gap solutions, and this is why we believe the only way forward is a universal, free at the point of use, social care service.”
Full Text of the Letter sent to the Health Secretary:
Dear Secretary of State
The need for a universal social care service
We are currently setting our council’s budget for the new financial year and, as with previous years, we are to allocating more funding each year for adult social care services as a result of the growing number of vulnerable people and the complexity of their needs.
In our new budget we have allocated around £5m extra in 2022-23 for adult social care – significantly more than the permitted 1% adult social care precept will bring in. This comes after ten years of austerity and increased need has meant that the council has had to save over £200m since 2010.
Cuts to funding plus significant need is putting our budgets under extreme pressure, and this situation looks set to continue. Analysis of data from the Department of Health sponsored systems ‘Projecting Adult Needs and Service Information’ (PANSI) and ‘Projecting Older People Population Information’ (POPPI) systems shows that by 2025, the over 65 population in Tower Hamlets is expected to total 26,600, an increase of 23% on the 2020 population.
This is replicated across the country. The Care Policy and Evaluation Centre’s latest report reveals that around 57% more adults aged 65 and over will need care in 2038 compared with 2018.
Behind these numbers are peoples’ everyday lives – people who need help and support so that they can thrive and live independent lives. In Tower Hamlets the drive behind our social care services is to enable people who need support to achieve their goals, be connected to others and be as independent as possible.
As a council we’re working hard with our partners to deliver the social care services that will give people this support. We are spending more on social care and also through our tackling poverty work trying to address many of the factors that have an impact on social care. Yet the people who rely on this support are being let down by the Government’s approach.
Despite the crisis facing adult social care, the long-awaited announcement from the Prime Minister last autumn completely failed to recognise the scale of the challenge and failed to give services the funding they need.
What’s even more concerning about the Prime Minister’s plans is that only £5.3billion of the £36billion extra that will be raised in the first three years will actually go on social care, and the new cap on lifetime spending will only apply to those starting care after October 2023.
Local councils have been desperately calling for social care to be put on a sustainable footing for many years and action is well overdue, instead the Government is bringing in yet another stop-gap solution that will see National Insurance contributions rise right in the midst of a cost of living crisis, impacting lower earners more than high earners and hurting families who are still reeling financially from the Covid pandemic.
This cannot go on. We need a sustainable, long-term plan rather than stop-gap solutions, and we believe the only way forward is a universal, free at the point of use, social care service.
We urge you to put forward long-term plans that would enable local authorities, the health service and others to provide adult social care services with fair funding and with certainty for the future. Like every other local authority across the country we are facing the additional budget requirement for extra funding into adult social care every year without additional necessary support from Government.
Mayor John Biggs
Cllr Rachel Blake
Deputy Mayor & Cabinet Member for Adults, Health and Wellbeing