Social care funding inquiry – Inclusion London’s evidence

Inclusion London recently submitted evidence to the House of Lords Select Committee on Economic Affairs’ inquiry on social care funding in England.

The House of Lords Select Committee on Economic Affairs is investigating the social care system in England, with a particular emphasis on the funding challenges and how they can be overcome. Inclusion London recently submitted evidence to their inquiry and below are extracts from our answers to some of the Committee’s questions.

What are the funding challenges for social care in England, and how can they be overcome?

The funding challenge for social care in England is to provide social care and support which enables Disabled people’s rights to ‘Living independently and being included in the community’ as stated under Article 19 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) to be implemented.

However, currently the implementation of Disabled people’s rights under Article 19 are a long, long way from being put into action because billions of pounds have been cut from adult social care budgets due to the government reducing funding provided to local authorities.

ADASS Budget surveys have revealed a cumulative total of £5.5bn has been cut from adult social care budgets in England from 2010 to the end of the financial year[1] with further savings of £700m to be found in 2018/19.[2]

The impact of cuts in social care budgets

The funding crisis in social care funding is having a detrimental impact on Disabled people’s ability to live and take part in the community. The results of a survey of nearly 4,000 people who had experienced adult social care published in 2018, illustrates the reality of adult social care today:    

  • A third of respondents can’t leave their home.
  • Over a quarter have been unable to maintain basics like washing, dressing and/or visiting the toilet.
  • 1 in 5 respondents said they’ve gone without meals due to a lack of care and support.
  • 1 in 5 respondents have felt unsafe moving around in their own home, and over
  • 1 in 8 had been delayed leaving hospital because of not getting the care they need.[3]

Social care charging debts

More than 160,000 Disabled people are in debt to their local authority because of the charges they have to pay for their own social care. More than 78,000 people have had debt management procedures started against them by their local authority over social care debts

How can a sustainable funding model for social care supported by a diverse and stable market be created?

How can the cost of the provision of social care be fairly distributed?

Inclusion London recommends that social care is free at the point of delivery funded by general taxation.  This is the most sustainable and fair way to fund social care.

National independent living service

We recommend that a national independent living service is established, building on lessons learnt from the Independent Living Fund (the ILF), [4]  which was established in 1988 but was closed by the government in 2015.

The national independent living service (NILS) will be responsible for carrying out assessments, reviews and administering payments to individual Disabled people.  It will be located in a cross-government body, which can oversee implementation plans in all areas, so a postcode lottery of care will be avoided. It will be led by need, not profit and will not be means tested. It will be independent of, but sit alongside, the NHS and will be funded from direct taxation so social and support will be free at the point of delivery.

Our full submission is available to download here.