Chancellor Gordon Brown “missed an opportunity” to address the significant funding shortfall in adult social care in this week’s pre-Budget report, peers heard yesterday.
In a debate on adult care funding, Essex Council leader Lord Hanningfield joined peers from all parties in claiming the sector faced both an immediate and a long-term funding crisis.
Councils overspent by 1.4 per cent on social services in 2005-6, according to the latest social services finance survey.
On Wednesday, in the pre-Budget report, Brown committed the government to significantly increasing education spending, implicitly leaving little for other services in next year’s tight comprehensive spending review.
Hanningfield said: “As much as we all support extra spending on schools we could have had some recognition of the support our elderly people need. It is about time that some money was diverted to that area.”
Peers said councils were increasingly tightening eligibility criteria due to huge funding pressures, caused in part by cost-shunting from the NHS, while over the long-term demand would rise significantly due to demographic change.
Responding for the government, Department for Communities and Local Government junior minister Baroness Andrews admitted there were significant pressures and promised to work with council leaders for a “viable and lasting solution”.