New inquiry: Long-term funding of adult social care
4 March 2021
The Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee has launched a new inquiry to investigate how covid-19 has impacted the adult social care sector and its long-term funding needs following the pandemic.
The adult social care sector comprises a range of support services for older people and working age adults with disabilities. In 2018-19 it accounted for 41% of local authority expenditure. Continuing pressures on services and increased demand have been addressed by short-term and fragmented additional funding from central Government, making long-term planning difficult.
Covid-19 has placed additional pressures on adult social care. Costs have increased due to additional PPE, cleaning and staff costs, while a fall in demand for services threatens to put providers out of business. The long-term economic, social and health consequences of covid-19 remain uncertain.
The Committee carried out a joint inquiry with the Health and Social Care Committee on the long-term funding of Adult Social Care in 2018. It called for the establishment of a Parliamentary Commission to develop a long-term funding solution for adult social care based on political consensus and public engagement, covering housing as well as health and social care services. It recommended that additional funding be raised through Council Tax reform, a new ring-fenced social care premium for the over-40s or increases to inheritance tax above a certain threshold.
Building on the work of its predecessor committee, the new inquiry will investigate the likely legacy of the covid-19 pandemic on the adult social care sector and the impact this has had on long-term funding need. It will also examine how additional funds can be raised to ensure the long-term stability of the sector and how the social care market can supported to improve innovation.
Launching the inquiry, Committee Chair Clive Betts MP said:
“The challenge of finding a long-term solution to the financial pressures on the adult social care system is one of the toughest questions we will have to face in the coming years. We have seen year on year the demand on services increasing, while local authority budgets have been stretched more and more. The Government has attempted to address this spasmodically with one-off pots of funding for the most critical needs, but it is clear the we must have a solution that provides a financial plan for decades, not just months. Unless the funding of social care is resolved there will continue to be more cuts to other council services and this is simply not sustainable.
“Our new inquiry sets out to understand how covid-19 has placed further stress on an already challenging environment, and the likely long-term consequences for adult social care. Given the likely long-term financial implications of the pandemic on society as a whole, we will also reconsider how we can provide the necessary funding boost fairly and look at how we can support the sector to innovate in how it provides care.”
Terms of reference
The Committee invites submissions on some or all of the following questions:
- How has covid-19 changed the landscape for long-term funding reform of the adult social care sector?
- How should additional funds for the adult social care sector be raised?
- How can the adult social care market be stabilised?
- How can the adult social care market be incentivised to compete on quality and/or innovation?
The Committee welcomes evidence on the questions set out in the terms of reference above. You can find out more about how to give evidence here, or by visiting the inquiry page here. If you have direct experience of the issues we investigate we would love to hear from you.
The deadline for submissions is 15 April 2021.
We want our inquiries to be informed by a diverse range of voices. Our committee team are happy to help if you require a reasonable adjustment, such as an extension to the deadline, or submitting evidence in an alternative format: please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org or 020 7219 5364.
Please note: The Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee examines policy issues relating to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and its associated bodies. It is unable to investigate, or adjudicate on, individual cases.
If you are affected by any issues covered by this inquiry, you can find support from the following organisations:
- Age UK - 0800 678 1602
- Carers UK – 0808 808 7777
- Mencap – 0808 808 1111
- Scope – 0808 800 3333, Textphone 18001 0808 800 3333
- The Silver Line – 0800 4 70 80 90