London Councils calls for urgent reform of adult social care funding

There is an urgent need to reform funding of adult social services to ensure the needs of an increasing number of elderly residents are met,  London Councils warned today.

A report published today, by London Councils, the cross-party lobbying organisation for the 33 London boroughs,  shows that the costs of caring for older residents is likely to rise considerably if the proposals made by the Dilnot Commission are implemented.

London Councils supports the Dilnot Commission’s recommendations of introducing a cap to limit the amount of money an individual contributes towards their own adult social care, as well as increasing the threshold at which a person is eligible to be assessed for publicly-funded adult social care.

However, London Councils also warns in its report that if the Dilnot Commission’s proposals are implemented, the costs of caring for adults with social care needs in the capital could potentially increase in real terms by £330m, within the first year.  This represents an 11.4% rise from the current £2.8 billion a year, to £3.16 billion a year.

This figure would rise to £3.44bn by 2017 – a sum which would mean an average increase of £19m per borough and a 21 per cent increase on current spending levels.

London Councils is calling for the reform of adult social care funding to ensure that the needs of older residents are properly met.  Council services are under increasing pressure as the population ages and Government funding has fallen.  Across the capital, a major and increasing share of local authorities’ net budget is spent on adult social care each year – typically, over one-third of the budget.

Cllr Teresa O’Neill, cabinet member for health and adult social care at London Councils, said: “We want Londoners to be able to lead active and independent lives and stay fit and healthy into old age.

“In order to do this, we need to consider how we want to fund adult social care to make sure that people can have access to affordable services when they need them.

“Our report today calls on the Government to think carefully about how it brings in the reforms, and to take regional variations into account to help ensure that local authorities are given the resources they need to help more people in the future.”

London has a higher proportion of older people living alone and a higher proportion of people aged over 90.

Higher housing costs in the capital mean that there are fewer home owners than in other parts of the country resulting in residents having fewer assets to contribute towards the cost of their care.

Further questions about the future funding of adult social care in the capital will be addressed in detailed research which is being carried out by London Councils and Ernst and Young LLP.  The findings will be published in September and will explore business models and a range of ideas on ways to meet the financial challenges of demand for adult social care.

You can download a copy of the report here .