2018 WBG Briefing: Social Care

Date Posted: Monday 22nd October 2018

October 2018

BudgetSocial Care

Ahead of the 2018 Autumn Budget, we’ve put together a briefing on the crisis in social care.

View and download our full briefing here.

This briefing was updated following the 2018 Autumn Budget to reflect the changes announced by the Chancellor.

View and download the updated briefing here (November 2018).

Key points
  • Social care is widely recognised to be in crisis. It is estimated that £1.5bn will be needed in 2020/21 and £6.1bn by 2030/31 just to return to the totally inadequate spending levels of 2015/2016. Just to meet the levels of 2009/10, when social care was already widely seen as underfunded, spending this year would have had to increase from £17.9bn to £24.3bn, a rise of 36%.
  • Women bear the brunt of the care crisis. The majority of the care workforce, paid and unpaid, are women and the majority of those in need of care are women.
  • Local authorities have faced a reduction of £6bn in social care budgets between 2010 and 2017, for which the 2-3% precept and additional £2bn in the 2017 Spring Budget do not compensate. Further, funding social care through council tax or local business rates will deepen regional inequalities as the local authorities with the greatest demand for services are those that are able to raise the least through local taxation.
  • As a result of spending cuts since 2008-09, the number of adults in receipt of these services has decreased by 33% from 1.5m to 1m adults in 2013-14. It is estimated that approximately 1.2m people aged 65 and over in England (1 in 8) have unmet care needs, an increase of 48% since 2010.
  • The paid care sector is facing a recruitment and retention crisis due to poor pay and working conditions that Brexit can only worsen. 6 million more social care workers will need to be recruited and trained by 2022.
  • There are over 7m family members and friends providing unpaid care in the UK and 58% are women. Reductions in formal care services puts a greater burden on unpaid carers. Between 2005 and 2014 the number of hours of unpaid care given increased by 25% from 6.5 to 8.1 billion hours a year.
  • At a time when the demand for paid care services is increasing, the supply of domiciliary and residential care is becoming more fragile. Between 2010 and 2016 the number of care homes in England fell from 18,000 to 16,600. In the six months to May 2018, 66% of councils had domiciliary or residential care providers close or cease trading or had contracts given back.

WBG calls on the government to redress the crisis in care by establishing a National Care Service that provides care free at the point of delivery and has equal standing to the NHS.

Written by Hilary Land (Emeritus Professor of Social Policy, University of Bristol) and Isabel Quilter