Local councils have said they want a national debate on how to pay for adult social care and rescue services for older and disabled people from collapse.
Adult social care now accounts for nearly 40% of total council budgets and increased spending on adult social care is threatening the future of other vital council services, the report said.
The Local Government Association (LGA) said: “Years of significant underfunding of councils, rising demand and costs, had combined to push adult social care services to breaking point.”
The LGA has now launched an eight-week consultation that sets out options for how the system can be improved and radical measures that are to be considered given the scale of the funding crisis. The LGA released their own green paper, called The Lives We Want to Live, and can be read here.
Other vital councils’ services that are threatened included parks, leisure centres and libraries, which help to keep people well and from need care and support and hospital treatment.
The LGA are seeking the views of people and organisations from across society on how best to pay for the care and support for people of all ages and their unpaid carers.
Cllr Izzi Seccombe, the chair of the LGA’s community wellbeing board, said: “People have a right to live the life they want to lead, and high-quality social care and support plays an essential role in this. It is also vital to society. It strengthens communities, reduces pressures on the NHS, supports around 1.5 million jobs and contributes as much as £46 billion to the UK economy.
“But work to find a long-term funding solution for social care and support has been kicked into the long grass by successive governments for the past two decades.”
Services are now at breaking point, creating an uncertain and worrying future outlook for people who use adult social care services. Cllr Seccombe said: “Adult social care and support matters. We must fund it for the long-term so people of all ages can be supported to live the life they want to live.”
The LGA’s possible solutions to paying for adult social care in the long-term include:
1. Increasing income tax for taxpayers of all ages – a 1p rise on the basic rate could raise £4.4 billion by 2024/25
2. Increasing national insurance – a 1p rise could raise £10.4 billion by 2024/25
3. A social care premium – charging the over-40s and working pensioners an earmarked contribution
4. Means testing universal benefits, such as winter fuel allowance and free TV licences – could raise £1.9 billion by 2024/25
5. Allowing councils to increase council tax – a 1% rise would generate £285 million by 2024/25