Legacy of political neglect had left social care fatally exposed before the outbreak began Our response to the ADASS Budget Survey 2020

18 June 2020

Commenting on the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) Budget Survey 2020: Impact of COVID-19 on budgets, the Health Foundation Director of Research and REAL Centre Anita Charlesworth said:

'Today’s report is a stark reminder of the huge impact that COVID-19 has had on social care. But it’s important to recognise the legacy of longstanding political neglect that had left the sector fatally exposed before the outbreak began. Since 2010, funding has failed to keep pace with rising need and increasing costs. Service users and the workforce have borne the burden of austerity, which is manifestly unfair and unsustainable.

'Council leaders’ confidence in the financial outlook for social care has understandably fallen further as it becomes clear that the cost of tackling the pandemic has far outstripped the emergency funds provided by the government. With care providers at ever greater risk of collapse, it is becoming increasingly evident that it is only a matter of time before they are unable to meet the needs of some of the most vulnerable in society.

'Additional funding is vital in order to meet future demand from an ageing population, address unmet need, and to improve pay, terms and conditions to address chronic workforce shortages in the sector. Successive governments have taken a make-do-and-mend approach to social care, with short-term stop-gap funding to patch over the fundamental problems. This can’t continue. Social care needs fundamental reform underpinned by a long-term funding settlement which is enough to provide proper access to high-quality care, and decent terms and conditions for staff. Ultimately, these are political choices. Unless the government chooses to spend more on social care and reform the broken system, people and their families will continue to suffer unnecessarily.'

Media contact

Simon Perry
Simon.Perry@health.org.uk
020 7257 2093

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