PM urged to deliver on promise for additional funds

Cllr Martin Tett

Councils have called on Prime Minister Liz Truss to deliver on her promise to provide more money for adult social care, warning that the cost-of-living crisis could add £3.7bn to delivering services.

During the Conservatives’ leadership election, the PM said she would spend more on adult social care over the next two years. Despite plans to reverse the health and care levy, Truss said additional funding for services – estimated at £13bn next year – would be provided.

The County Councils Network (CCN), which represents 36 mainly Conservative councils, said the PM must now ‘follow through’ with this commitment, warning that services face a perfect storm of staffing shortages, less availability of care beds and higher costs at a time when demand is rising.

Analysis using the IFS–CIPFA Local Government Finance Model reveals councils in England are set to face £3.7bn in additional costs this year and next to keep care services as they are due to rising inflation, wage increases and demand. These rising costs are double previous estimates by PwC for CCN, which predicted costs would rise £1.6bn over the same two-year period.

Under the previous government’s plans, 9% of the £13bn ringfenced for health and social care is to be spent on adult social care. This funding, however, is not aimed at addressing the immediate pressures in the system. Instead, it is to pay for the reforms being introduced from October 2023.

Cllr Martin Tett, health and social care spokesperson at CCN, said the funding situation was ‘now worsening’ with councils facing an extremely challenging 18 months.

‘We face the perfect storm of staffing shortages, fewer care beds, and higher costs – all of which will impact on individuals waiting for care and discharges from hospital,’ he said.

‘Whilst the perception is that social care is fixed with reform on the way, the experience of those who require care now is anything but. We urge the government to confirm that social care will receive a much-needed funding boost as soon as possible in this month’s emergency Budget.’

A mini Budget is due on Friday.