UK Policy Briefings
2019 WBG Briefing: Social care and gender
Date Posted: Thursday 31st October 2019
- Social care is widely recognised to be in crisis. The increase of £1.5bn for social care announced in the Spending Round 2019 only meets the extra needed to return to the totally inadequate spending levels of 2015/2016. To meet the levels of 2009/10, when social care was already widely seen as underfunded, spending in 2018/19 would have had to have increased 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 over £7bn in social care budgets between 2010 and 2019, for which the short-term funding measures of £11.5 billion dedicated to adult social care over the period 2017/18 to 2019/20 and including the £1.5 billion in the 2019 Spending Round, 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 need for services are those able to raise the least through local taxation.
- Since 2010/11 the number of adults in receipt of publicly funded social care services has decreased by 400,000. In 2019 it is estimated that approximately 1.4m people aged 65 and over in England (1 in 7) have unmet care needs, an increase of 50% since 2010. Of these, 300,000 people need help with three or more essential daily tasks.
- 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 7 million family members and friends providing unpaid care in the UK and 58% are women. Reductions in formal care services put a greater burden on unpaid carers.
- At a time when the demand for paid care services is increasing, the supply of domiciliary and residential care is becoming more fragile. Between 2014 and 2019 the number of care homes in England fell by 11% to 11,333 compared with a 23% increase in domiciliary agencies to 9,528. Twice as many people (7,000) were affected by the closure of home care providers in the six months to May 2019 compared to last year.
- 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.