“Damian Green: local authorities avoid care home developments”

Owl says: Didn’t stop EDDC flogging The Knowle to PegasusLifedid it! Though, of course, it will be DCC and the NHS that picks up the tab, not EDDC.

“Local authorities are increasingly reluctant to allow care homes and retirement homes to be built in their areas because they can’t afford the social care costs associated with that demographic, Conservative MP and former deputy prime minister Damian Green has said.

The chair of the all-party parliamentary group on longevity, who has produced his own policy paper suggesting a solution to the social care funding crisis, said it was a “quiet secret” that local authorities – who have to fund social care costs – try to avoid applications for homes for older people.

He also warned that unless all parties agree to seek a cross-party consensus on social care funding, a political crisis triggered by an “enormous scandal” will force them to act.

“We need to face up to these unpalatable truths,” he said. “The current system isn’t sustainable financially or politically. An enormous scandal will break and suddenly, there will be a political crisis. Cynically, it may be that we need something like that, but we should be able to avoid it because we know it is probably coming.

“Local authorities don’t want to become attractive places for retired people,” he added. “If things go on as they are, local authorities will become social care providers with everything else as ‘add-ons’ and the traditional things we all expect from them simply not existing.”

Age UK estimates that 1.4 million older people have unmet care needs. This is despite the average share of local authority funding going on adult social care reaching almost 25% of their total budget in 2017-2018.

Local authority budgets have seen devastating cuts under the Conservative government. Despite announcements of extra funds, and a £20bn boost to the NHS under Theresa May, the Local Government Association (LGA) has warned of an £8bn funding black hole by 2025.

Last month, Jeremy Hunt – the longest-serving health secretary in British history – admitted social care cuts went too far on his watch.

On a BBC debate for the Conservative party leadership election, Hunt said: “I think having been responsible for health and social care, that some of the cuts in social care did go too far.”

Ian Hudspeth, chair of the Community and Wellbeing Board at the LGA, said: “I haven’t come across any planning permissions not being put forward in this way but we’re very aware that the social care structure is at a crisis point.”

He pointed to a recent report by the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services which reported that almost half of councils have seen the closure of domestic home care providers in their area in the past year and a third had seen residential care homes closed, collectively affecting more than 8,000 clients and residents.

“There have been instances of care homes going out of business without warning and immediate pressure being put on local authorities to provide care and accommodation for their residents,” he added.

Green was speaking at a debate on Tackling Britain’s Care Crisis at the Resolution Foundation alongside Liz Kendall MP, former shadow minister for care, Norman Lamb MP, former minister for care, and David Willetts, president of the Intergenerational Centre.

All of the speakers called for a cross-party consensus on how to fund social care. There was wide agreement for a year-long programme of citizens’ assemblies and town hall meetings so the public could have their say.

Kendall said it was “absolutely a national imperative” that politicians create a cross-party consensus.

Lamb agreed, lambasting the current system as “completely dysfunctional”. It “fails people completely”, he said, criticising the government for failing to produce the long-awaited green paper.

A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Social Care said:
“People deserve to have a choice of high-quality care services wherever they live in the country. Local authorities are best placed to understand and plan for the care needs of their populations and are responsible for shaping their local markets so they are sustainable, diverse and offer high-quality care and support for local people.

“We have given local authorities access to up to £3.9bn more dedicated funding for adult social care this year with a further £410m available for adults’ and children’s services. We will set out our plans to reform the social care system at the earliest opportunity to ensure it is sustainable for the future.”

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/jul/11/damian-green-local-authorities-avoid-care-home-developments?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other