By Charlotte Webster-
A report by The Health Foundation has highlighted a growing funding gap in England’s adult social care sector, with an estimated £600 million needed in the next year alone and a staggering £8.3 billion required by 2032-33 just to meet the expected rise in demand for services.
The report, titled “Adult Social Care Funding Pressures,” features the increasing cost of providing adult social care and examines four different scenarios to address future demands on the system.
These scenarios range from meeting future demand for care to fully covering the cost of care while improving access.
Analysts calculate the scale of funding pressures relative to this baseline in alternative scenarios.
We refer to the difference between our baseline case and the funding required under our different scenarios up to 2032/33 as ‘funding pressures’.
There is no national budget for adult social care. The amount spent is determined by local authorities based on their overall finances and other spending pressures, the amount of targeted funding transferred from the NHS, and central government grants.
In order to calculate potential funding pressures, The Health Foundation analyzed the funds currently available to councils for adult social care.
These calculations were based on spending trends, government funding allocations, and estimates of local government revenue-raising capacity.
The report concluded that, by 2024-25, meeting future demand and making some improvements to access care would require £3.1 billion, representing a 4.3% annual real terms increase.
In order to meet future demand and fully cover the cost of care reforms, £5.4 billion would be needed by 2024-25, a 5.1% annual real terms increase.
The most ambitious scenario, which involves meeting future demand, improving access to care, and fully covering the cost of care, would require £8.4 billion by 2024-25, a 6% annual real-terms increase.
The report also highlighted the current funding situation, with adult social care spending increasing by an average of 2.6% per year in real terms between 2014-15 and 2021-22.
However, to keep pace with rising demand, funding would need to increase by an average of 3.4% per year between 2022-23 and 2032-33.
It’s important to note that there is no national budget for adult social care in England, and funding decisions are made by local authorities based on their financial constraints and other spending pressures. Additional grants from the government and the NHS also play a role in determining the available funds.
Beverley Tarka, President of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, emphasized the urgency of the situation, stating, “Continuing with the status quo means a continued slide into a progressively unsustainable financial situation for adult social care.” She called for a long-term, fully-funded plan for social care.
David Fothergill, Chairman of the Local Government Association’s community and wellbeing board, echoed these concerns, calling for “significant uplifts” in social care funding and urging the government to consider a fully costed, sustainable plan to fund the sector.
In response to the report, a spokesperson for the Department of Health and Social Care highlighted the government’s commitment to reforming adult social care and its recent investment of £700 million over two years.
However, the report’s findings emphasize the need for more substantial and sustained funding to address the growing pressures on the adult social care system in England