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New analysis: social care funding projections  

by Kirsty Kirsty

Today the Health Foundation published new analysis which projects the cost of growing demand for adult social care in England and the government funding required to tackle some of the major challenges facing the social care system.  

The social care system has suffered decades of political neglect and underfunding. Many people go without the care they need, staff pay and conditions are poor and reliance on unpaid carers is high. State-funded care is only available to people with the highest needs and lowest means.  

Our new analysis projects the costs of providing social care services in England in the future under several different scenarios. We find that just to meet growing demand for social care in England, an additional £8.3bn by 2032/33 could be needed. Social care spending would need to rise by 3.4% a year in real terms just to stand still, much higher than the 2.6% a year increase in spending between 2014/15 and 2021/22.   

More comprehensive policy change to meet demand, improve access to care, and cover the full cost of care could require an additional £18.4bn. This inevitably raises the question of the way social care is funded and how it should be reformed. 

Anita Charlesworth, Director of Research and REAL Centre at the Health Foundation, said: 

‘Our estimates show significant additional funding from government is needed just to maintain the current and frankly inadequate levels of care.  

‘Our political system is struggling to cope with the scale of the challenge facing social care and the range of issues that need to be fixed simultaneously. What is clear is that there is a big price tag just to stop quality and access to care deteriorating. Further improvements to this crucial pillar of the welfare state will require significant additional investment. Central to this is improving conditions for staff, ensuring providers are fully funded and relieving pressure on unpaid carers by expanding access. The fundamental problems facing England’s social care system are the legacy of decades of political failure; with repeated short-term injections of cash to limit the immediate crisis but no long-term planning for the future.’ 

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