MPs disappointed at lack of clear milestones for progress in adult social care

The large funding gap for adult social care is a great concern, MPs have said as they told of their disappointment in the Government for not setting out “clear milestones” for progress in the sector.

The Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (LUHC) committee said a number of the recommendations it made last summer to address issues in England’s “ravaged” adult social care sector had either been rejected or only accepted in part by the Government.

The committee’s report in August stated that a cash injection and a long-term plan was needed to help meet immediate cost pressures and become sustainable over the coming years.

It added that the Government had “nothing more than a vision” for social care, with no timetable or measures of progress.

On Thursday, the committee’s chair expressed his disappointment and concern at the Government’s response to its report.

Labour MP Clive Betts (pictured) said: “It is disappointing that the Government have not taken this opportunity to set out in detail, with clear milestones, how its vision in the People at the Heart of Care White Paper will be achieved.

“Adult social care needs a long-term plan to help ensure people get the support they need to remain independent at home and that the social care workforce receive the recognition and career development they deserve.

“Adult social care remains a key priority and it is of great concern that there continues to be a large funding gap which needs to be filled. Those in need of care, their loved ones, and care staff deserve better.”

In a letter to Care Minister Helen Whately, Mr Betts said the Government should “say so plainly” if it does not know when recommended key changes will come into effect.

In a letter to Mr Betts in April, Ms Whately said its “Next Steps to Put People at the Heart of Care” plan published that month had set out how progress made “to implement the vision for adult social care set out in the People at the Heart of Care white paper” will be built on “and sets out specific detail on the activity and milestones for how we will spend up to £700 million over the next two years”.

She listed the “good progress” towards delivering some commitments including investment in digitisation and technology reforms, local authority oversight, and data collections and surveys.

She also referred to the new and independently-chaired Older People’s Housing Taskforce which “will work collaboratively with housing, health and social care stakeholders to explore ways to improve housing options for older people”.

She added: “We recognise the committee’s concern about current funding for the social care system. I am pleased that we have made a significant amount of additional funding available for adult social care and discharge – up to £7.5 billion over two years.”

Ms Whately insisted that supporting the social care workforce “is at the front and centre of our reforms”.

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