MPs are calling on the government to urgently provide additional funding for the adult social care sector in a new report published by the cross-party Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (LUHC) Committee.

While the committee commends the government for attempting to prevent unpredictable and catastrophic care costs for people, it “should be under no illusions that it has come close to rescuing social care, and needs to be open with the public that there is a long way to go,” the report states.

NHS and adult social care are interdependent and both need to be adequately funded

The report is calling for a minimum of £7 billion extra per year for adult social care, as currently, the majority of the funding from the Health and Social Care Levy will go to the NHS. The remaining money for adult social care is ringfenced for reforms, not cost pressures, the report states.

The committee say they do not want to pit the NHS and adult social care against one another, but the two systems are interdependent and each needs to be adequately funded to reduce pressure on the other.

To ensure this money is split appropriately between the two sectors, the committee makes the following suggestions:

  • The Government must provide a multi-year funding settlement to give local authorities the visibility they need both for their own sustainability and also to help shape sustainable local care markets.
  • The Government must update the adult social care relative needs formula by the next financial year. This should be implemented alongside the Fair Funding Review and council tax equalisation.
  • The Government should publish a new burdens assessment by the end of the year to determine the level of resource needed by local government in terms of staff, expertise, and funding to deliver the full package of adult social care reforms.

Government must publish a 10-year strategy for the adult social care workforce

The committee is also concerned that the government does not have a plan on how to implement their ‘vision’ for social care.

In a summary of the report, the committee writes: “The Government currently has nothing more than a vision, with no roadmap, no timetable, no milestones, and no measures of success. The Government’s commitment to ‘making every decision about care a decision about housing’ is welcome, but we are alarmed that so much of the detail has not been shared.”

With this in mind, the committee is urging the government to publish a 10-year plan for how its vision in the People at the Heart of Care White Paper will be achieved, taking into account how the different policies interweave and affect one another.

It also asks the government to publish a 10-year strategy for the adult social care workforce, with a clear roadmap with core milestones, outcomes, and measures of success. This includes achieving parity of pay for comparable roles across the NHS and social care.

MPs are “right to be concerned about the lack of a comprehensive plan”

The Nuffield Trust say that MPs are “right to be concerned about the lack of a comprehensive plan that addresses deep-rooted problems across the sector” and is calling for a “realistic workforce strategy” and pay that “adequately rewards qualifications, responsibilities and experience”.

Deputy Director of Policy at Nuffield Trust Natasha Curry said: “Urgent action is needed to tackle workforce shortages, instability in the provider market, as well as shoring up the shaky financial foundations that the current plans for reform sit on.”