LGA publishes follow-up to its green paper one year on

Councillor Ian Hudspeth, chairman of the LGA’s community wellbeing board

The Local Government Association (LGA) is urging the next prime minister to publish the long-awaited adult social care green paper before Parliament goes into recess in September.

It is almost one year since the association launched its own green paper on adult social care and since then the government has delayed its version three times and it is now more than two-and-a-half years since it first committed to one.

At its three-day annual conference the body is launching a follow up report, One year on – the LGA green paper for adult social care and wellbeing, which includes contributions and testimonies from people who receive, work in and represent the sector.

It is also renewing its invite to host cross-party talks between politicians to find consensus on reforms.

Despite the government giving local authorities access to up £3.9bn more dedicated adult social care funding this year, and a further £410m for adults and children’s services, the LGA said council social care departments face a £3.6bn funding gap by 2025.

Analysis by the LGA shows the extra funding needed to close this gap is similar to the 3.4% annual real terms increase given to the NHS in the Long Term Plan. For comparison, the extra £20.5bn a year by 2023/24 in real terms for the NHS is more than the entire annual net spend on adult social care, which was £15.33bn in 2017/18.

Chairman of the LGA’s community wellbeing board councillor Ian Hudspeth said: ‘Our adult social care system is creaking under increasing pressure which impacts everyone with care and support needs, preventing them from living their lives to the full. It also has consequences for all those involved in adult social care including providers, the workforce and the NHS.

‘That is why the government needs to commit to meeting our 10-week deadline, before the party conferences start, to finally publish its much-delayed and long-awaited green paper outlining what the future funding options and possible solutions to this crisis are.’

Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said: ‘A shameful lack of political movement compelled the Local Government Association to publish its own green paper and a year on, nothing has changed except that conditions continue to deteriorate for those in need and both health and care services come under even more pressure.

Our research shows 76% of MPs believe there is a crisis in social care – yet still nothing is done.’

As reported last week, the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services said results from its annual budget survey found a ‘fragile and failing’ care market that was resulting in thousands of older and disabled people struggling with little or no help.

The Department of Health and Social Care has said it plans to publish its green paper ‘at the earliest opportunity’.