Directors are calling on the government to inject emergency funding of £1bn into adult social care budgets for 2017-18.
The funding is needed to address the shortfall in next year’s budgets and stabilise the care market, the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) said.
The organisation also urged ministers to make provisions in the spring budget to close the funding gap faced by social care, which sector leaders estimate will be at least £2.6bn by 2020.
The call comes two days after care minister David Mowat told a parliamentary select committee that tackling the care crisis would require people to be as responsible for their parents as they are for their children.
He said: “One of the things that has struck me is no one ever questions that we look after our children – that is obvious. No one says that is a caring responsibility, it is what we do.
“I think some of that logic and some of the way we think about that in terms the volume of numbers that we are seeing coming down the track will have to impinge on the way that we think about caring for our parents. Because it is a responsibility in terms of our life cycle which is similar.”
Mowat also admitted that the government had no “final answer” on how it was going to cope with the rising costs of social care.
No new money was announced for social care in the autumn statement. The Local Government Finance Settlement redistributed the New Homes Bonus to form an adult social care grant of £241m and gave councils the ability to increase the social care council tax precept by up to a total of 6% in the next three years. ADASS warned that recycling new homes money will leave some local authorities with less to spend on adult social care.
In a snap poll carried out by ADASS between Christmas and New Year, 97% of directors said these measures would make either very little difference or none at all to social care budgets.
Margaret Willcox, ADASS president elect, said: “It is imperative that social care is treated as a national priority because current solutions go nowhere near what is needed to meet the increased needs for, and costs of, care for older and disabled people.
“Emergency assistance of £1 billion – which is at least what all leading sector experts say is needed to fund adult social care next year – and distributed on a needs based formula, will prevent further deterioration whilst working on a longer term solution, and would go some way towards stabilising the system for councils, providers and the NHS.
“Unless this funding is forthcoming, we will continue see more older and disabled people not getting the care and support they rely upon to survive each day, an even greater toll being placed on those 6.5 million family members and other carers, increasing delays in the NHS, and even more care homes closing and growing gaps and failures in the care market.”