Responding to the publication of the Health Select Committee’s report into the impact of the spending review on health and social care, chief executive of United Response, Tim Cooper, said:

“The conclusions of the Health Select Committee clearly show that the comprehensive spending review has signally failed to address the crisis in social care; a crisis which is only set to worsen.

“Today’s report reiterates that increasing numbers of people with genuine social care needs are no longer receiving the care that they need because of a lack of resource. This not only causes distress to vulnerable individuals, but results in significant costs to the NHS, and the undermining of the Government’s own transforming care agenda and its wider rhetoric around prevention.

“We welcomed additional money for local authorities to invest in adult social care in the spending review. However, it was clear even at the time that the 2% council tax precept and £1.5Bn additional funding for the Better Care Fund (BCF) would not be even nearly sufficient to tackle the social care crisis, without additional investment from Central Government. Evidence that social care spending is likely to be roughly flat in cash terms with real-term reductions in budgets over the spending review period is deeply worrying. Vulnerable people will be driven to crisis, to hospitals and to acute care – contradicting the policy direction that the Government has indicated that it wishes to take.

“In addition, the Health Committee’s report highlights that not all councils will choose to levy the 2% precept for adult social care, noting only around half of councils chose to increase council tax for 2015 – 16. Estimates submitted by ADASS to the Committee’s report detail a social care funding gap of at least £1.6Bn by 2017 – 18, which rises to £2Bn if the scenario where only 50% of councils raising the precept for the spending review period continues. This is compounded by the fact that poorer councils with higher social care needs are less able to raise revenue in this way. Yet additional funding to help poorer local authorities from the Better Care Fund will not come through until 2017 – 18.

“The crisis in older people’s care is widely known but evidence to the Committee clearly highlights the fact that the number and levels of people with a learning disability is as big a financial pressure on council budgets as older people.  As a learning disability provider, United Response is particularly concerned with evidence from ADASS that money available for adult social care does not meet the increased cost of the National Living Wage and the increased demand for services. Adults with learning disabilities and complex needs are among the most vulnerable and disadvantaged groups in our society. They and their families rely almost entirely on adult social care funding from local authorities – it is their lifeline.

“Today’s report from the Health Committee only confirms that the spending review has not addressed the crisis in social care funding. We support the Committee’s call for the Government to urgently assess wider costs to the NHS associated with pressures on adult social care budgets more generally, and for a concrete and funded plan to address this. Government must invest in social care now, while there is still time to save it.”